Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lhauyyyyyyyyyyy!



Oh wow, let me tell y'all, there is nothing in this world more refreshing than a Cambodian breeze (lhauy. I think it is technically rohauy, but a lot of the times in Cambodian you can swap out the "r" sound for an "l" sound. Everybody says it lhauy). We're right in the middle of the windy season right now, and it feels sooooooo nice, it's unbelievable. You cannot understand how nice these breezes feel. It's going to be like this till the end of December too! Yay! And then the hot season begins... dun Dun DUNNNNNN... Scary…


Stung Mean Chey is awesome. I had heard a lot that it was the dustiest part of the city and I can now confirm those rumors. I've kind of accepted that I'll be using an iron lung for the rest of my life once I return, because there is just too much dust in my lungs for them to work properly for the rest of my life. Elder Kim told me when we were riding the tuk-tuk into Stung Mean Chey that sometimes on bad days we'll be riding down the street and we won't be able to see each other because the dust will be so thick. I still don't know whether that was a joke or not... I can see it happening though. Sometimes when we would ride along Phlov Dei Hoy ("the dusty road", which is the eastern boundary of the Pochentong area, the road I lived along, and the road we always took we would go up to Saen Sok) the dust would get so bad that visibility was limited. Kind of scary. Cambodia is kind of a confusing place. Like it's super swampy, wet, and humid, but it's also the dustiest place ever! I don't understand. Like how can you have roads full of mud and air full of dust at the same time? Why don't scientists spend more time studying this conundrum? Send some over to Phnom Penh and I guarantee they'll be just as baffled. 

Elder Kim is the coolest guy ever. He's 19 like me and he is actually in the group ahead of me, so we're really close in mission age as well! And since he's Khmae and he only attended the MTC for 3 weeks, he'll actually only finish his mission a transfer before me! (the American elders who started proselyting in Cambodia at the same time as him will finish two transfers before me). He comes from Tuk Thlaa, the area right next to Pochentong! I actually have been living in Tuk Thlaa the last three months. That's where our house was. 

Haha side note: This week Elder Vout and I were talking one night about how frustrating it is that everybody works 24/7 here, and Elder Vout just told me "Mo' money mo' honey elder." Haha I died laughing. I was like "Who taught you that?!" 

So my area is actually the area directly south of Pochentong. It's almost as big, although I think there is actually a western boundary for Stung Mean Chey. There isn't really one for Pochentong. It's huge though. Our house is just as big as the one in Tuk Thlaa, four stories, and once again it's just me and my companion in a huge house! Our house is perfectly situated though. It's a minute bike ride (actually more like 45 seconds) from the church (which is this beautiful beautiful chapel) and a thirty second bike ride from the supermarket and from the normal phsaar as well. It's awesome!

The Stung Mean Chey chapel has to be the nicest one I've been to yet in Cambodia. Yeah, the South and North stake ones are bigger, but I like this one more than those two. It has a sand volleyball court, a basketball court, a pingpong table, and a banana orchard, and right in the middle of the banana orchard is a soccer field! It's super cool. I'll take pics for y'all this next week.  
Guess what?! We have a senior couple in Stung Mean Chey! They're in 3rd branch, but they always feed all of the Stung Mean Chey missionaries. We're going over for Thanksgiving on Thursday! YESSSS

This last week I was thinking a lot about how "grownup" I am. I was like "wow I'm so independent! I live over 9000 miles away from home, my parents have no idea what I'm doing, I only communicate with my family through email once a week, I buy my own food, I make my own food, I take care of myself for the most part..." But then I got to thinking, being independent isn't what really matters. I shouldn't measure my growth off how "independent" I've become. My personal growth should be measured by how dependent I've become; how dependent on the Savior; how dependent on His Atonement; how dependent on my relationship with my Heavenly Father... That's what its all about. Being independent is great and all, and maybe that's what the world defines as maturity, but I think becoming spiritually dependent on our Heavenly Father and on His Son Jesus Christ is so much more important. Becoming spiritually mature enough to realize how helpless we really are without them is essential. As we all strive to develop closer relationships with Heavenly Father through prayer, I know that we will find greater purpose and meaning in this life, and we will find greater help in overcoming all of our obstacles. I know that as we strive to humble ourselves and heal ourselves through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we will realize how infinite His love for us really is. 

I love everybody at home! Have a great time in San Francisco fam! Hope it’s amazing! Remember to send pics! Thanks for the Christmas packages too! Y’alls and Honey and Grandpa's arrived this week. I haven't opened them yet, I promise! 

Love Elder Burger


At a sort of botanical garden type thing called Comkaa Pring. It's actually in Pochentong, but I didn't find it till this last week.






Me and Puu Vichet

Puu Vichet's son

Mao Sophon, aka the funniest human being alive


Me and Puu Mongkol, an investigator I've been working with since I got here.  (p.s. don't worry if people aren't smiling in some of these pictures.  They're happy, I promise.  It's just not their culture to smile for pictures)

Me, Taa Saay, and his son Kong

Bong Sokhaa and Bong Somoo, two of my favorite investigators ever.  I've only seen him wear clothes when he comes to church. This is actually how most men are when you visit them at their house.  They wear a Krama wrapped around the waist and nothing else.  It's their casual clothes.  All the women wear those pajama suits, all day, every day.  They're the most fashionable thing for women to wear here.

Elder Vout, me, and Abraham.  I am convinced he is the oldest person in Cambodia who was born into the church.  His mom and dad were baptized back in 1994 or 1995.  Abraham was born in 1996 (I think).

President Lom Ang, Marida, and their two kids.  They fed us Thursday night.  They always do a dinner for missionaries who transfer away.

Elder Vout's helmet is held together by plastic zippy things.  Whenever we ride past little kids they always point and call him "antenna".  He tells everybody that it's a wifi server and that they'll get free wifi if they learn with us.  Haha.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Going to Stung Mean Chey 2nd Branch!

We chopped down a huge coconut tree for service this week! This young widow in our ward is starting to clear the little piece of land behind her house so she can start renting it out for some extra income.
Transfer calls last night! Like always transfer calls take forever to come. Elder Vore didn't call us till after lights out time at 9:30. Call finally came at like 9:35. Elder Vout will continue to serve here in Pochentong and guess who is coming to take his place? Elder Paramore!! He's been up in Kampung Thom this whole time. I actually haven't seen him since we arrived here in Cambodia. Elder Paramore and I are the only members in our entire group who have never seen each other in Cambodia. Everyone else met together last transfer day, but Elder Vout and I left the mission home early so I didn't get to see everyone. But I'll see Elder Paramore on Friday finally, so that's exciting.

As for me, I am transferring to the South Zone, Stung Mean Chey Second Branch to be more exact. That was my prediction before calls! I was like I'm either going to Tuk Thlaa (right next door to Pochentong) or I'm going to one of the branches in Stung Mean Chey (there's three branches). I'm actually going to be serving right next to the world famous "trash mountain", which is the area of Stung Mean Chey Third Branch. That was Elder Johnson's area right before he went to Pochentong. He was serving as zone leader over there in south zone at the time.  I'm super excited to go and serve there. My companion is going to be Elder Kim, who is currently serving there right now. All I know about Elder Kim is that he is Khmae. That's it. I'll be finding out a lot more about him starting this Friday though!

My feelings are really mixed about transfers. I'm going to miss Pochentong so much, I've grown so close with so many different people here, but I'm also excited to go and help in another part of the Lord's vineyard. It honestly is going to be nice to totally cut off all ties to my training and infancy and start again in a new area as a full-fledged missionary! I know that I will be able to see all of the members and everyone I care about dearly from Pochentong again! It's going to be such a wonderful occasion when we meet together after the glorious Judgment Day, and step forward to inherit "all that the Father hath" with each other. I look forward with anticipation to that day! But till then, I have more friends to make, and the Lord wants me to make them in Stung Mean Chey Second! I'm so grateful for a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, because through it we know that there's no such thing as a true ending, as long as we hold out faithful till the end!

I'm so grateful right now to have so many great friends serving in the Lord's army with me all over the world! I have amazing friends who are preaching the gospel on literally every single inhabited continent on the face of the earth. I'm especially grateful for Elder Goodwin's example! Can you believe that every single companion he has had out in the field has been on a mission longer than Jack has been a member of the church?! That's incredible! He reminds me of those missionaries from pioneer times, who were members for 6 or 7 months before they were called to leave their families and go and serve missions around the world. What a guy!

So something special about the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission is that we have a special form of paperwork called "CBRs" or "Convert Baptismal Records". They're basically a form with pictures and information about all the members in Cambodia. Every area in the mission has a couple thick binders full of information on all the members in their area. It's essential here in Cambodia because nothing is really computerized here yet, and even if records were all computerized here, it wouldn't help because nobody has legitimate addresses so you couldn't find any members! CBR's are essential in finding less-actives. A big part of the work here is finding "lost CBRs" or members who we don't know where they are. We do it a lot. It makes me feel like a detective or a private eye or something. You follow the map drawn on the CBR (some of which are incredibly vague and unhelpful) and try and find out what happened to that member or that family. Like you try to see whether they've moved or have died or are still there or what. We talk to people's neighbors and people in the area to help us out. It's fun, but it's super frustrating. If a member moves away from their original home, it's almost impossible to find them in their new area. This is the primary reason we have so many less-actives in Cambodia (well according to my opinion). People move and once they move, nobody can find them in order to help them come to church! Hunting for CBR's always reminds me of the good old days when I would go geocaching every weekend with dad. It's exactly like that, except we don't have a GPS, just vague poorly drawn maps. But it's fun nonetheless!

Just a random house I took a picture of on the way to the internet cafe.

This week at church a less-active who hasn't been to church in over 6 months came for the second week in a row! Last week when I saw him I did a double-take and was like "Phia! You came!" and this week I saw him again I was like "YESSS!". He's super super cool. I love going over and teaching him. He's 27 and is chill as can be. If I knew him outside the mission I would hang out with him all the time. I hope that he continues to come!

Sokhaa and Somoo, a couple I've been teaching for a few months who haven't come to church in about a month and a half, came to church too! It was awesome! The members love them so much, especially Bong Navi, Bong Kunthi, Puu Sokcia, and Bong Viasnaa. They are doing such a great job at befriending them. We have never have any problem getting member help to go out and teach them. And every week when they didn't come all of them always came up to me and were super concerned about them. They love them so much, and I love them too! They haven't been coming because Somoo has been hesitant recently about taking time off work on Sunday. We've been teaching lots and lots about applying and exercising our faith. I'm going to miss those two so much. Elder Paramore and Elder Vout will keep making sure they progress though, I don't worry.

One thing I love about Khmaes is that Khmaes love their own culture. What I mean by that is that they aren't preoccupied with American culture like I feel the rest of the world is. They aren't trying to be American. In fact, since I've been here (4 months today) I can literally count on one hand the number of times I have heard an American song playing on the radio. That's pretty incredible considering Khmae's blast music NONSTOP. They just listen to Khmae music. I love that. If there is any culture they're trying to emulate its Korea's. 

This week I studied in Ether chapter 6.

The Jaredites journey to the Americas is incredibly applicable to us in our lives! As I read verse 3 I paused to think, "What are my stones? What are the things that shine in the darkness and give light to me in my life?" I'll let everyone answer that question for themselves, but for me my stones are the scriptures, the words of living prophets and apostles, my family, my friends, the examples of my ancestors, my patriarchal blessing, and the sacred covenants I made in the temple.

3 And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness.
 4 And it came to pass that when they had prepared all manner of food, that thereby they might subsist upon the water, and also food for their flocks and herds, and whatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them—and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God.  Ether 6:3-4


As I read on in verse 4 I loved the faith and dedication of the Jaredites. They prepared themselves in accordance with the commandments of the Lord, and when they had sufficiently prepared they "set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God." I love that! All of us at times in our life will be uncertain about decisions, but we must trust in the Lord and know that He will guide us. We must "chian tuo muk daoy seckdeicumnua" or press forward with faith, even if the path in front of us is dark and uncertain. I love the talk "Cast not Away Therefore Thy Confidence" by Elder Holland. It speaks about how when we receive revelation, or when we have a great spiritual experience, we cannot let uncertainty or doubt or temptation keep us from moving forward according to the revelation which we have already received.

 5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.
 6 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.
 7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.
8 And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.  Ether 6:5-7

Reading onward in verses 5, 6, 7, and 8 I loved the image in my mind of the wind continuously blowing them toward the promised land. Even when they were "buried in the depths of the sea", the Lord was still pushing them toward where He wanted them to go. I love this imagery, because it helps us realize that our trials are all apart of the journey Heavenly Father has planned for us. Even when we plunge down into the depths of the sea, we are continually being pushed forward to where the Lord wants us to go. It's so important to nurture our testimonies and work towards our own personal conversion too, so that our faith may be "tight like unto a dish", that nothing will harm us or our faith, even when we are in the depths of affliction and adversity.

 9 And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.
 10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.  Ether 6:9-10

In verse 9 the Jaredites show an incredible amount of gratitude for the Lord in what He had done for them, in bringing them to the promised land. And finally in verse 10 I love that "they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water". Heavenly Father will give us revelation and guidance in all of our circumstances. He wants to helps us. He wants to guide us. I testify that He loves us and that as we chian tuo muk daoy seckdeicumnua, He will guide us home, to the most promised of all lands, to dwell with Him and with our families for eternity. Families really are eternal. I love helping people realize that. 

Continue having amazing lives! Keep sending pictures of y’alls lives - no matter how boring y’all tell me they are! I love you all! 

Love Elder Burger

P.S. this week I contacted someone from a phum (it means like area or neighborhood, kind of like what Shavano Park or Deerfield is) called "phum domrei coan khlaa". That literally means "Neighborhood: Elephants stomps on tiger". Pretty cool


Editor's Note:  As Mitch mentioned, in Stung Mean Chey is a large trash dump known as "Trash Mountain".  People live and scavenge in the dump.  The following is a short documentary on the people and their lives in Trash Mountain.  http://trashmountain.com/projects/cambodia/


This is kruac. I think it's called a quail in english. I'm not exactly sure, ask Grandpa, he's the resident ornithologist of the family. There's a kruac stand right outside our neighborhood. We stop there occasionally on the way home. Kruac's way good, just super bony and doesn't have a ton of meat. The bones are brittle though so whenever one finds its way into my mouth I usually end up just chewing it to bits, because I'm too lazy to spit it out.
It is mind-boggling how many temples there are in Cambodia. You'll be riding your bike and you'll see another temple you've never seen before hidden back in the trees. They call Cambodia "the Land of a Thousand Temples", but that phrase does Cambodia no justice. It's a huge underestimation. Theres a million temples here.








Sunday, November 9, 2014

Duck Eggs & Snails . . . Khmae style

Elder Vout and I helped a cow farmer from Kompung Spuu pull weeds to feed to his cows. I still don't know why he came all the way to a random dusty field in Pochentong to pull weeds but he did. 


What’s going on y'all?!

To start off, I am officially not in a three-some anymore. After zone training meeting on Friday Elder Caine went to Tuol Kok with Elder Brewer, one of the zone leaders. Elder Vore is now in Saen Sok with Elder Neeng. So it’s kind of a weird situation right now. Elder Vore and Elder Brewer are both still zone leaders but they are now split. Elder Vore is also my district leader now as well. Pretty hectic. I guess we'll wait and see how President Moon switches things at the end of this transfer, which is in less than two weeks. Actually we'll be getting transfer calls on Sunday, six days away! I kind of feel like I'll be in Pochentong for another transfer, even though its extremelyyy atypical for President Moon to keep a koon in their birth area for anything longer than 3 transfers. I think his main reasons is that, well, it’s your birth area. It’s the area where you really learned the language. Everybody kind of just knows you as the koon. I have no idea where I'll be transferred to though, because EVERYBODY in the mission was transferred last transfer. I think that there were only two companionships in the whole mission who weren't affected by last transfer at all. If I get transferred my personal guess is that I'm going somewhere in South or East Zone. I'm guessing Chaktomuk or Tuol Tom Pong or Steung Mean Chey. We'll see though. It's seriously impossible to guess correctly. Although Elder Johnson and I did guess where Elder Johnson would be going! We said he would be going to train a new koon in Kompung Cham Third Branch and that's exactly what happened! All I know is that I want to be transferred to an area which has a senior couple, mainly because I would love for a senior couple to invite me over for a nice American Thanksgiving dinner! Its weird, because North Zone is the largest zone in the entire mission but North Zone doesn't have a single senior couple.


Elder Caine being a baby and trying not to get his shoes wet. It wasn't even that deep.

A huge random lake/swamp behind this community we always go to contact in.

This week was kind of hard because there was another huge holiday this week. This one is called Om Tuuk, which in English they call the water festival. It was the first time in a couple years they've had it. The government has canceled it the last couple years because of deaths from flooding or something like that. The difference between Om Tuuk and Pchum Ben is that for Om Tuuk, instead of everyone going to their khaets, everyone comes from the khaets to the city! There were sooo many people in Phnom Penh. They all come to be with family and to watch the huge boat races that take place on the Mekong for three days straight. It’s a big deal. It still makes proselyting really difficult though because everybody is drunk or hanging out with family, so nobody wants to meet with us. Also, everyone is over on the east side of the city in Tuol Sang Kae and Chaktomuk over by the Mekong. So since I'm on the far west side of the city it’s hard to meet anybody. Pretty annoying, but dealing with holidays is just part of serving a mission in Cambodia. Khmaes have holidays and days off work almost every single week. It's crazy how many holidays they celebrate. For example they celebrate the western New Year, the Chinese New Year, and the Khmae New Year.

The entrance to a wat out in Caom Cauu (the far west part of our area)

Last Monday I got a lot of mail from y'all! Its weird what comes fast and what doesn't. Like I had gotten about 3 postcards from Florida about 2 months ago, but this last week I just barely got Dad's postcard which he sent from Florida! Somehow it came super slow. But at the same time I also received the items from Papa's funeral, and those came super fast. Thanks again for sending me Papa's funeral program and NanEtte's eulogy for him. It was beautiful. The most beautiful part of it all was definitely Riley's poem for Papa.  I was sitting on my bed crying as I read it. Thanks for making me feel like a total chump Riley. Great poem though!

Yesterday Elder Vout and I had the most incredible lesson right after church with this new investigator named Vituu. The presence of the Spirit was so incredibly powerful as we talked about the Restoration of the true gospel of Jesus Christ with him. It was an amazing lesson. It's after I walk out of lessons like that that I feel like I'm on cloud 9. It's lessons like that one that make weeks and weeks of hard labor in the sun and tons of canceled appointments worth it. When you look someone in the eyes and know that they aren't just hearing what you're saying, but they're listening and they're eating it up... Wow, what a feeling! To know that right at that moment the Spirit is calling eternal truths to their remembrance. Those are the moments where the veil is thinnest. When you tell them that someone is a child of God, and as you tell them the Spirit touches their heart and tells them that this is true, and that deep down in their soul, they have always known it to be true. Whewww!!! I wish everyone had the opportunity to be a full-time missionary!

It's sobering to think that in just a couple days I'll be hitting my 6-month mark. Where has the time gone? A quarter of my mission is gone! For the sisters in my group, a third of their mission is gone! It's amazing how fast time flies in retrospect, even when in the moment it sometimes feels like an eternity. I was thinking the other day about how long 2 years really is, and every time I think about it, I can't help but marvel how short two years really is! If we assume I'll live to the average age of 80, 2 years is but a 40th of my lifetime! That's nothing! I attended high school for twice that long, for goodness sake! It makes me happy that I haven't wasted these last 6 months though. Heavenly Father blessed me with a clear knowledge of my purpose as a missionary almost the moment I was set apart. I am so grateful to Him for that knowledge, and for the work ethic He has blessed me with ever since I was set apart. The grace of Jesus Christ truly is an enabling power, which pushes us beyond our limits and helps us to stretch the capacities of our souls. Without the grace of God, I might be able to make it to 10 am every morning without collapsing. Maybe... Only through the power of God are missionaries able to do the work with all of their "heart, might, mind, and strength". I think that it is ironic that we can't exercise all of our "heart, might, mind, and strength" without first relying on the Lord. It's only through His heart, mind, mind, and strength that we can in turn serve him with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. We have such a great potential that can't be fully realized if we rely only upon our own efforts!

A quick note about the language this week: it’s impossible for me to detect accents when people are speaking Khmae. Like we talk to people all the time and Elder Vout will be like "this guy is Vietnamese" or "this guy is from China" and I'll be like "how in the world do you know?" and then we'll ask the guy where his homeland is and sure enough, Elder Vout will have guessed correctly. It works both ways though. Like Elder Caine speaks with the thickest South African/Mauritian accent ever, and Khmaes have literally no idea that he doesn't come from America. Elder Vout said he can't tell any difference in the way Elder Caine speaks and in the way I speak. Haha weird how that works.

Yesterday at church attendance went back up to 80 people. We've had 80 people probably 3-4 times since I came to Pochentong. We also had a less-active who we've been working with forever come to church for the first time in more than six months! It was awesome. We also have an investigator Maac (the guy whose house blew up in a gas explosion and whose phone was stolen) who we started meeting with again after a period of about 2 months where we really couldn't meet or schedule with him. He's come to church three times in a row, for all 3 hours every time. He ought to be baptized here in a couple of weeks.

Questions:
Do Khmaes eat with chopsticks? Or did they adopt silverware during French colonization? Yup, Khmaes eat with both chopsticks and silverware. Usually they use chopsticks to eat noodle dishes, and then with everything else they use silverware. You always eat with the fork in the left hand and the spoon in the right hand. It was kind of a weird adjustment at first but that's the only way I know how to eat now!

I saw somewhere that there is a lot of pickled vegetables in Cambodian cuisine.  True?  Ya pickled vegetables are super common. I eat them all the time. Super good

When was your last interview with President Moon?  Does he come to your area or do you go to the mission home?  I had an interview with President Moon about a week ago. He comes to the local stake center, so me and Elder Vout rode over the North Stake center.

I love how in the Book of Enos, Enos says that the prophets amongst the people were "continually reminding them... of the duration of eternity". That seems to be one of the hardest things to get people to understand. That a little sacrifice in this life will bring forth eternal treasures in the life to come. Like we sing in the hymn Praise to the Man: "sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven." If only everyone would understand what is at stake! I love Elder Holland's quote in Preach My Gospel: "The first thing you will do when an investigator tells you he or she had not read and prayed about the Book of Mormon is be devastated!... Much of the time we are too casual about all of this. This is eternal life. This is the salvation of the children of God. Eternity hangs in the balance... It is the most important path this investigator will ever walk but if he or she doesn't know that, at least you do!... So take control of the situation." 

This is our calling and duty, not just as full-time missionaries, but as members of God's true church, to remind our brothers and sisters here on the earth why the came to Earth in the first place. Every single person who has ever lived on the face of this Earth chose to come here. They wanted this life, they wanted this test, they wanted to have all of these experiences, even though they knew beforehand that it was going to be incredibly hard. They knew that coming here to Earth would be the only way that they could learn and gain a body and become more like their Heavenly Father. These facts are true for all of us! Let us all help our fellow men recognize their divine potential! Let's help everyone know that they are literally children of God, the ruler of the universe, who created everything in the universe for our sakes and for His greatest eternal purpose, which is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". Too much is at stake for us to be hesitant in opening our mouths and testifying of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We must tell the world that there is a way provided from the foundation of the world for us all to return to live with our Heavenly Father and to inherit all that He hath! 

I know that this gospel is true. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church on the face of the earth. I know that it is Heavenly Father's true church, and that he has bestowed divine power and authority to His servants here on the earth to lead and guide His children. Today, in the year 2014, we have a prophet of God and apostles here on the earth who lead and guide this Church! I testify that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's chosen prophet and that he leads and guides this church today, under the constant direction and guidance of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it comes from God. For those who don't yet have this knowledge, or who feel like their testimony of the Book of Mormon has weakened over the years, I urge you to read and pray about it! I absolutely know that the Holy Ghost will witness to your heart about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Through the Holy Ghost, we all can know the truth of all things. Please, just pray and ask your Father in Heaven about it! He will answer you through the Holy Ghost, by giving you the most tender feelings of peace and joy! I love this Church and I love my mission. God bless you all! Have great weeks!


Love Elder Neuberger




Kyang srae, aka huge rice field snails. During Om Tuuk (the water festival) there was this big group of like 35-year old guys having a cook-out. They were all drunk, which explains all the beer cans in the pic. But when we contacted them they offered some snails to us! The snails are huge! You can barely fit one in your hand. They're boiling hot too. The key is to pick up the shell and rip out the huge chunk of meat inside with a toothpick before your hand is burned off. You would not believe how much meat is inside those things. You rip it out and its about the size of a large, slimy, chewy chicken nugget. Then you dip it in this lime and pepper sauce. It was so good! I would have eaten 10 more if my hand hadn't started blistering from how hot the shell was.

Finally ate a duck embryo!
Preparing to take the plunge . . . You've gotta suck out all those precious embryonic fluids before you start eating it. Khmaes don't waste a single drop, so of course I have to follow suit

I didn't do it for me, I did it in order to have a cool story to tell my grandchildren one day.

I ate not just one but two duck embryos because, as Elder Caine so loving put it, "Elder, anyone can do something once..."  Challenge accepted...
It kind of just tasted like a duck embryo. Eggy, ducky, feathery, bony,  embryotic-fluidy... Exactly like you'd imagine. Wasn't terrible though, I'd definitely eat them again.  Almost all Cambodian food gets better the more you eat it.