Monday, January 26, 2015

Our Duty as Missionaries

Soccer and the Cambodian flag. Two of my favorite things in the world.

Malo e'le'lei! There's a little Tongan for y’all. Elder Uhi gets mad at me whenever I try to say it because I say it wrong every time. Haha, eventually he was just like "forget it! You're ruining my language!" Haha. I guess my brain is hard-wired for Cambodian right now, not for Tongan. I don't think the gift of tongues can be applied in a general manner. Probably just for what you need.

Speaking of Polynesian things, a couple weeks ago we had a way cool experience that I think I forgot to share with y’all. In our district meeting (which Elder Belcher attended), Elder Belcher brought up that in our area there is a less-active from the International Branch. Elder Belcher asked me if I knew of a prosthetics hospital in our area and I said that actually I did. I didn't remember the exact location; I just knew that I had ridden past it a couple times. I remembered that it was way back in the back roads/boondocks part of our area in between Pochentong and Stung Mean Chey, where there isn't a whole lot of anything. Elder Uhi got increasingly excited as Elder Belcher was telling us about it. He was like "There's a poly here in our area?!!" Elder Uhi had just been telling me the day before how he misses being around polys all the time. Elder Uhi got even more excited when Elder Belcher was like "and he doesn't speak any Khmae, just English." So we decided to go try and find it later that day. By some miracle, it had to have been guidance from the Spirit, we were able to find the prosthetics hospital on the first try without having to make any detours or extra turns or anything! We went in and asked the staff whether there was a Polynesian student at their school there. They said that there was and then a couple minutes later he came rolling into the lobby (I say rolling because he is in a wheelchair). Even though he was sitting in a wheelchair he still dwarfed all the Khmaes around him. I forgot just how big Polys are! He was huge! He was super nice. Elder Uhi and I talked to him for about half an hour. He said that he is from American Samoa, and that he was on a scholarship learning at this prosthetics hospital. There are about 30 students at this hospital, coming from the countries of Tanzania, American Samoa, Myanmar, Kiribati, Fiji, and a couple of other countries I forgot. We talked with a girl from Tanzania and a guy from Myanmar. They were both super cool! But yeah anyways, this Samoan guy was super neat. He said that a ton of his friends from back home had served in Texas on their missions and they came back and they had so much Texas pride! I was like "Sounds about right." Elder Uhi loved talking with him. He missed that Polynesian sense of humor. 

This week I had a thought about our duty as missionaries. It is our duty to prepare people to receive the sacred ordinance of baptism. One of the parts of that duty is making sure that people are sufficiently prepared to make that step, to make sure that they have repented and are ready to make the commitment to follow Jesus Christ for the rest of their lives. I remember reading a talk from a general conference which says that bishops have the sacred duty and responsibility to defend the sanctity of the temple by ensuring that nobody is given a temple recommend who is not worthy. For missionaries we have that same duty, but for the ordinance of baptism! It is so important to not baptize people just to baptize people, just so you can say when you finished your mission: "well I baptized THIS many people!" That is completely the wrong way to go about it. That is fulfilling your own prideful ambitions. These are children of God and we as missionaries will be the ones held responsible if we baptize them before they are ready to make such a serious commitment. It is absolutely essential that we do everything we can to help these people repent and make those deep and lasting changes that are essential for their salvation.

Me with Amaraa and Yian, 2 investigators which Elder Kim and I taught all the lessons to. They were both baptized in these last couple weeks! So happy to finally see them making that step! Amaraa is amazing. She is already in Mosiah for the second time! She has already finished the Book of Mormon once! Yian is amazing because he has come to church I think 10 weeks in a row now and he has to ride half an hour on his moto over some of the bumpiest and dustiest roads in the world to get to church! And he always brings his two kids!

Yesterday Elder Uhi and I had kind of an unsettling experience. Last Sunday we went over to the home of a less-active woman who wanted us to give a blessing to her very, very sick niece. So yesterday we went back over to see how she was doing and this girl was even sicker than before. She was manic. She was talking to herself the whole time, saying the same word over and over and over again and her eyes were rolled back in her head and her father had to keep her in a bear hug because she would start swinging at whoever came near. I asked the woman if she had been like this before the illness started and she said no not at all (this woman’s niece is 23 by the way). She said they had gone to the doctor a couple days before to get a brain scan and the scan showed no visible evidence of the illness touching her brain. So that was a pretty scary situation. I have never seen anyone so manically disturbed in real life. We're praying for her to heal, because its obviously taking a big emotional and physical toll on her family.

It's interesting how Heavenly Father helps us learn. Like take Khmae for instance. I'm getting to the point where I feel pretty darn comfortable every day. Like speaking Khmae isn’t something I wake up and worry about now. But as I continue to pray to learn the language, Heavenly Father continues to help me see that I have a longggggg way to go. Like yesterday in Sunday School I read a verse out loud for the class and the teacher asked this grandmother whether she understood what I had read and she was like "I didn't understand what he just said at all. Have a Khmae read it again". Haha so yeah, sometimes Heavenly Father definitely gives us experiences like that to help us smile and realize that we are completely dependent on His help for anything, especially with learning a language as a missionary!

Is there a bread unique to Cambodia, like Indian naan?  Khmaes don't really have their own unique bread. French baguettes is definitely the bread of choice in Khmae cuisine though

Any word on a new mission president?  Nope I don't know anything at all about the new mission president. I'll probably find out who it is from y’all when y’all email me. I'm way out of the loop here.

K love y’all. I love hearing from y’all so much! I'm so glad that life is going good!

Love Elder Burger

Elder Uhi chasing a bird out of the church building

Cambodian igloo

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