Monday, May 18, 2015

An Amazing Year

We go through this market several times a day
What in the world?! My year-mark has come and gone. I don't feel like I've been out for a year at all! It feels like just yesterday that Mom and Dad dropped me off at the MTC. That actually feels like it was like last week or something. Seriously, it's insane how fast missions fly by. In some aspects I feel like I've been gone for a very long time. Like when I consider the personal growth I've gained through the Atonement over the course of this past year. The Atonement truly is an enabling force in our lives that picks us up and carries us to soaring heights we could have never ever reached on our own. If you had told me last May that in a year's time I would be walking around all day, doing missionary work with all my heart, day in, day out, speaking in coherent Cambodian for crying out loud, I don't know if I would have believed you. It’s just too hard. Missionary work is just too hard and requires too much of people to be able to do it on your own. Are there missionaries who go two years without the aid of the Spirit and the aid of the Atonement? Yeah, of course; but their missions are fruitless. If a mission is to be the experience that will set the course of the rest of your life, you've got to rely on the Atonement and the Spirit. If you're to help the area have maximum growth, and find every single soul the Savior has prepared within your area, and stretch yourself beyond possible limits with the language, and love the people with every fiber of your heart, you HAVE to rely on the Atonement every second of every day.

Over the past year I owe every single experience I've had to the Savior. Something I've been thinking about a lot recently is making sure all the glory to him. Sometimes people get really caught up with who has had what assignments in the mission, or which missionaries are the hardest workers, or the most obedient, or the best at the language. None of that matters! We're all just servants out here anyways! When you go to Buckingham Palace is it the servants that are the center of attention or the queen? Glory be to our loving Master, whose awe-inspiring work we have the privilege of doing every single day. He is our light and our Exemplar, and our eyes should always be focused on Him. I am eternally grateful for this last year, and for the year I still am blessed to have remaining, where I can focus all of my heart, might, mind and strength on increasing the glory of our Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus Christ.

Srei Niats baptism

It was so much fun getting to talk with y’all this last week! It blows my mind how grown-up Chloe and Riley are now. Riley turns 14 and Chloe turns 17 this year! What in the world?! I've only been gone a year after all. How'd y’all grow up 10 years since I've been gone? Haha, that reminds me of Daniel, because every time he'd see Riley he'd be like "What the heck? Why is she so old? Isn't she like 6 years old still?" haha. Congrats to Riley on being a total jock and to Chloe for almost being an upperclassmen! And I guess to Maddie too, because you're almost an upperclassmen in college now. Weird...

I tore through my year mark package from y’all and the Jenson's this week. The Jenson’s have been so nice about sending me packages and letters! I think they're outclassing even y’all, my own dang family! It’s super nice of them. 

These past couple weeks have been amazing. We've had a couple of baptisms, for Srei Niat and Srei Lin, and these next couple weeks we'll be having a few more baptisms with Sophetraa and Sovanna and hopefully a few more investigators after that! Its amazing seeing all these people come unto Christ.

Srei Lin's baptism yesterday! She's the thirteen year old cousin of two recently returned sister missionaries in our ward.  Elder Osborne is six foot 3. Everyone calls him Elder Two Meters or Elder Palm Tree

Thol, Vin, and Srei Niat, who are all the coolest recent converts of all time, are giving us tons of referrals right now! It’s so cool seeing them catch the spirit of missionary work! They love the gospel and they know it's true and they want to share it's light with others! We're also getting referrals from other members in the ward, including less-actives! I love this area! Our bishop, Bishop Phun, is the coolest guy too. He is super funny and so extremely active in visiting less-active members and interviewing people for callings and the priesthood and things like that. I love him and our stake president too. They're really leading this area to great things. 

I continue to see wonderful miracles in the work here every week, especially as a part of the "Rekindle Cambodia" project President Moon has had us working on recently. We've been going and trying and visiting every single member in Cambodia in the months of April and May, and really trying to focus our efforts to the less actives in Cambodia these two months. We've been seeing less actives who haven't come in forever start coming regularly again! It’s amazing! Cambodia has so many less-actives, so sometimes its pretty daunting doing less active work here. We have around 13,000 members but only about 2800 of those members come to church. But this is the Lord's work, and our God is a God of miracles. I am confident that we can have all of these members be found and brought back into the fold, as missionaries and ward leaders work together to further the work. 

Thol showing us a referral he wanted to give us

A miracle I saw about a week and a half ago showed how the Lord truly protects us. Elder Osborne and I were racing down the road coming from an appointment. In front of us were big 3 foot tall concrete road blocks to prevent cars from going through a certain part of the road. Well since we're on bikes we could totally go through, so we aimed our bikes to shoot through the small gap. At the last moment this tuk-tuk to the side of me decides to flip a u-turn right in front of me, so going full-speed I have to veer right into the course of one of these concrete road blocks. I only had time to start hitting my breaks maybe 5 feet before the road block, so I was still basically going maximum speed when I hit it. I braced myself as my bike goes headlong into the block, with a speed that should have caused a tremendous forceful crash to occur. This concrete barrier is the perfect height to have caused me to flip over it if I crashed into it. I honestly should have hurtled about 15 feet over this barrier after hitting it buttttt...... Nothing happened. It felt like lightly bumping a mattress. My bike hit it, and me and my bike just bounced off it about a foot into the air and then I landed, still on my bike... The tuk-tuk driver, Elder Osborne, and I were completely perplexed as to how in the world that could have happened. I still don't know how nothing more than that happened, but what I do know is that the Lord protects us. This is His work, and He has given me the opportunity to be one of His servants!

I love y’all and the work and Cambodia and the Savior! Life is good.

Love Elder Burger

I've been trying to get a picture of the foot and a half wide rat-infested staircase next to our WM leader's house forever now, but pictures just don't do it justice.  Downstairs is full of cloth fragments, and sewing machines. These are the stairs that lead from the room downstairs to the room upstairs where they sleep. 

Cutest Baby

Construction crew on the road hit a pipe at around 2 o'clock on one of the hottest days you can possibly imagine. They had a good time with it, as you can see

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