Ok, so for those of you who didn't stop reading when they saw that I would not be including pictures, here are some interesting tidbits from this week and answers to questions people have asked:
This week was awesome! We taught 33 lessons, 17 to investigators and 16 to recent converts and less actives. We taught 10 lessons alone on Tuesday. The work is spreading so quickly here! Me and Elder Kim's goal is to have President split the area after this transfer. We're working like bees to further the work here in Stung Mean Chey.
Here's a fun story: on Monday after arriving back at the house after playing soccer (Elder Kim and I have played soccer 3 weeks in a row now), Elder Kim was unlocking the door when I saw a young white guy, maybe 30 or so, playing with his daughter in the street. I was like "Hey hows it going?!" and asked him where they were from. He told me they were from Texas. I asked him which city and he said Dallas and I said what part of Dallas (at this point he was a little startled) and he said Euless. I was like "Wow, that Euless Trinity football team is a powerhouse." Haha at that point he was completely taken aback and so I explained to him that I come from San Antonio. He was super cool, he said he had a couple friends in San Antonio and he liked visiting there. He said him and his family are living here in Cambodia long-term. He works for a church. It was quite the chance encounter. So yeah, thats my texas story of the week.
On Friday I went on exchange to Chaktomuk. Chaktomuk is the super nice, "downtown" part of Phnom Penh. Its the area around the mission home and it has basically every single tourist trap phnom penh offers. It is also the area where every single white person in Phnom Penh lives. I saw probably a 100 barangs in 1 day. It was insane. I'm not going to express to y’all my true feelings about most of these barangs in an email because it wouldn't be appropriate. Lets just say the vast majority of them are 70 year-old drunk white men who are pursuing interests that I will not describe in detail. I'll just tell you a phrase Khmae people use when talking about them: "The old cow wants to eat the young unripe grass". Hmm yeah, I get worked up thinking about those guys...
Chaktomuk is super fun though! Its the wealthiest part of Phnom Penh and has all the embassies and the majority of government buildings. It also has famous places like the Royal Palace, Independence Monument, Phsaar Thmei, Olympic Stadium, Diamond Island,etc. The list goes on and on. It was weird being in that area on a day other than p-day (we go to that area every single p-day). I proselyted with one of the zone leaders Elder Duffy. Even though its super nice there are some super sketchy areas as well. We walked through a pitch dark alley and went up four pitch dark floors in an abandoned apartment/housing building to reach one of their investigators who lives in a little shack at the top. I was freaking out a little bit. You know those fake haunted houses that people go into at Halloween? Ok imagine a real one but which is 10 times scarier. All we had as a light were the streams of moonlight coming through cracks in the walls and the little tiny LED light on our phone. We were fine though, the Spirit would warn of us if there was any real danger to be had. But oh man, what an adventure. It will be a long time before I forget going to that teaching appointment.
This week I studied about "sanctification of ourselves". Two scriptures I loved were in Joshua 3:5 and in D&C 43:16.
And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you. Joshua 3:5
And ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power, that ye may give even as I have spoken. D&C 43:16
As we strive to sanctify ourselves through obedience and righteous living we will have wonders done among us and we will be endowed with power. The temple endowment is just that, an endowment of power, but it is conditional on our continuous efforts of self-sanctification.
I also studied a lot about prayer. I love what President Eyring says about honest and sincere prayer. First we must think about what we are going to say. Our nightly and morning prayers shouldn't be a casual thing! They should be well thought out. President Eyring says, "That will take more than a few minutes and more than a little thought." Preach My Gospel teaches us that "effective prayer requires great effort." Of course we're going to be tired when we're about to go to bed! But if we can forsake the desires of the natural man for just a few more minutes, we can have the power of the Lord with us day and night. Alma teaches us that we should “counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day." Alma 37:37
I also love President Gordon B. Hinckley's quote in Preach My Gospel: “The trouble with most of our prayers is that we give them as if we were picking up the telephone and ordering groceries—we place our order and hang up. We need to meditate, contemplate, think of what we are praying about and for and then speak to the Lord as one man speaketh to another”. Prayer is so powerful. Elder Callister taught us at this last conference that we should not just go through the routine of prayer, but to pray with power.
Haha mom I'm laughing at that NY Times article you sent me. All of those places aren't Khmae places at all. They're white people cocktail bars and stuff. Good thing when y’all come y’all will have a tour guide who actually knows how to show y’all what Cambodia and its culture are actually like.
Questions and Answers:
Have you seen anything about the large typhoon hitting the Philippines? I have heard nothing about the typhoon in the Philippines. Its safe to say that if there is something going on in the world I know nothing about it. I don't read the new, watch the news or go on the internet and neither do any of the people I associate with. 99% of Cambodians have no idea whats going on outside of their day-to-day life.
Did you receive the contact solution we mailed? Yes, thank you very much. Elder & Sister Belcher dropped it off at our house on Tuesday or Wednesday night. That was nice of them because that would have been miserable to tie it to the back of my bike and haul it back to the house. Haha – Elder Belcher was like “guess how much your parents spent on this one?”, as he pointed at the postage label on the top.
Do you still play the piano in this new ward? I was the ward pianist in Pochentong but here in Stung Mean Chey one of the sister missionaries plays every Sunday. I will actually be accompanying the Stung Mean Chey choir though for 3 or 4 songs at this big Christmas devotional that the South Stake is doing on the 20th. I'm going to start practicing with them a few days a week.
Are you showing “He is the Gift” video, or is that only being shown in western countries? Yeah I did watch the He is the Gift video. Actually, to be honest, we got shown it before it even came out! All missionaries had training meetings on how to use the He is the Gift initiative about a week before the initiative was shown to the public. We were told not to tell y’all though until the Church released it all. We have those same cards which y’all received (but obviously they're in Khmae). We're really trying to make the most of this initiative here. Its exciting. All the different stakes in Phnom Penh are holding separate open houses and devotionals, and musical activities. It's an exciting time of the year!
I love y’all, have excellent weeks! Thanks for y’alls prayers and examples!
Love Elder Neuberger