Monday, March 16, 2015

What a time of my life I'm living right now!

Sister and President Moon, Elder Uhi, Elder Neuberger, Elder & Sister Gong

“Hi! Healthy happy no? Eat rice yet? Oh ok you eat already already. Delicious no? You get food what kind?”

That's a typical way to start a conversation in Cambodian (I translated it literally, haha. Can you see why Asian's speak English the way they do? It’s a perfectly ok sentence to say in Khmae, but if you translate it directly they end up speaking that Asian-English that is super stereotypical). Oh gosh, Khmae is the greatest.

So anyway, how are all of y’all? Hope everybody's doing super. This last week was pretty tough, not going to lie. We weren't able to meet with very many people but that’s ok! We found a lot of great people contacting, including an old member! We went up to him on the street and he was like "No I'm busy I'm busy!" but Elder Uhi started contacting him anyway (persistence makes a good missionary!).  He told him about our free English class and invited him to go. The guy said that he might. Elder Uhi then had to pick up the phone so I stepped in and asked him if he had ever learned about Jesus Christ before. He said that he had and that he had actually joined a church up in Kompung Thom. I was like "wow really!". I assumed that it was another church. But then he said, "Ya, do you know Bong Sophal?" (Bong Sophal is a really famous member because she is the one who makes all the cool Khmae ties that we wear here). I was like "yeah! Wait, you've learned with elders like us before? And you were baptized? That’s awesome!" It turns out that he had been baptized in 2012, but then after a year in Kompung Thom he moved to Siam Riap. After a year in Siam Riap he moved to Stung Mean Chey where he helps register guest's names at a guesthouse. He's been inactive ever since he moved away from Kompung Thom a couple years ago. I was like “Do you want us to show you the church building?" and he said that that would be great! So we took him over to our church building, which is only like five minutes away from his house. At the church building we taught him a lesson. I also asked him if he knew a Vuut Sela, who was one of my former companions. He was like Vuut Sela? Yeah! He was the person who introduced me to the church! Oh man, what a small world. Another weird thing is that even though this guy was 27, Elder Vuut is still older than him...  That was a cool miracle this week though.

We also ran into more members while contacting this week, but they aren't Khmae, they're Filipino! We had actually seen them in passing before when they called out once to us "Hey elders!" but we had never had the opportunity to talk to them. While riding past their house this week we saw them pull up in their car and we went over and talked to them. The mom and dads names are Joyce and Nestle (Nestle has 2 brothers as well, named Hersheys and Almond Joy. That is not a joke at all. I'm dead serious. Way to go Filipinos. Y’all are naming your kids right). They speak absolutely perfect English, like a ton of Filipinos do. They said they were super active back in the Philippines and even a few years ago in Cambodia they were super active, but the last couple years they haven't been going too much because the International Branch meets kind of far away and they've been a little lazy. They told us that they were actually in the process of moving houses up the street. We offered to help. We're going to be going over sometime this next week! Yay! Planned service!

We actually do a lot of service everyday but it’s all completely unplanned. Just whenever we see someone carrying something heavy, or carrying things into their house we jump off our bikes and grab stuff from the truck and start bringing it in too, despite their extremely loud protests (Cambodians HATE people helping them with stuff, especially white people). But they're always really appreciative when they see that we aren't going to budge. Serve or die!

This last week I read Our Heritage, which is the only book in the approved missionary library, which I haven't gotten around to yet. It was a great book, reading about the history of our Church. I love Church History so much! It is so inspiring looking back at the wonderful examples of the people who helped establish the church. It was also really cool reading about my ancestor Elijah Cheney! I read it and I was like hey I know him! I forget what the relationship is. Like a fourth or fifth great grandfather I think?  (Editor’s Note:  Elijah Cheney is Elder Neuberger’s 4th great-grandfather.  He joined the Church in upstate New York in February 1832.  He soon left on a mission and with his companion converted Wilford Woodruff.  Wilford Woodruff went on to become the third president of the Church).

Yesterday Bong Phiarun was baptized! His testimony is unreal. He loves the Gospel and the Book of Mormon and he knows that all of this is true! He is amazing. It was really cool because Elder Uhi got to perform the baptism! That was his first time baptizing anybody. Definitely an experience to remember.

Bong Phiarun's baptism 

I read a quote from President Monson this last week that I really liked: "Missionary work is difficult. It taxes one's energies, it strains one's capacity, it demands one's best effort- frequently a second effort. No other labor requires longer hours or greater devotion or such sacrifice and fervent prayer."

Elder Christopher Waddell of the Seventy said, "Just as with missionaries past and present, the Lord knows you and has a mission experience prepared for you. He knows your mission president and his wonderful wife, who will love you as their own children and who will seek inspiration and direction on your behalf. He knows each of your companions and what you will learn from them. He knows each area in which you will labor, the members you will meet, the people you will teach, and the lives you will impact for eternity. Through your devoted service and willing sacrifice, your mission will become holy ground to you. You will witness the miracle of conversion as the Spirit works through you to touch the hearts of those you teach."

I'll finish with one more quote from President Monson, "Brethren of the priesthood, the world is in need of your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save. The harvest truly is great. Let there be no mistake about it; the missionary opportunity of a lifetime is yours. The blessings of eternity await you. Yours is the privilege to be not spectators but participants on the stage of priesthood service."

What a time of my life I'm living right now! I'll remember these years forever. I feel so blessed to be a full-time servant of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to represent Him to Heavenly Father's beloved children. God bless.

Love Elder Burger

It was quite the adventure getting this pic. We were riding our bikes down this street when all of a sudden elder Uhi goes 'Elder look!" And I see this car drive by in a different direction with a UT bumper sticker. So I go "I have to get a picture!" and I zoom off after the car. It probably took a half kilo of riding like a maniac to get to the car. I was zipping, weaving, diving through traffic, all while taking off my backpack, putting it in my bike basket, unzipping it, taking out my camera case, unzipping that, taking out my camera, and getting it ready to take a pic (all done at the same time). I would have looked like Jason Bourne if someone had gotten a video of me. I finally got the pic while I skidded to a stop right behind the car at a congested intersection (thats mid-skid, not after I stopped. I took it while still sliding to a stop in the dust). Pretty proud of this picture, not gonna lie.

At the National Museum. Didn't actually go in, we were just riding past it last p-day

American fruit prices at Lucky's supermarket (that is US dollars). Shaking my head.... 

Our WM leaders house is always full of clothes. His mom sews them.

Waiting for a recent convert to show up
Me and Bong Viin and Bong Thol 
Baptisms yesterday! Bong Phiarun, an investigator Elder Uhi and I have been teaching, and then 3 investigators of Elder Kim were baptized as well
Zone Conference with Elder Gong

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