Saturday, July 4, 2015

I'm going back to America . . .

. . . Well, sort of. It’s the 4th of July today, and it’s also our p-day, so we're going to the party at the U.S. Embassy with the office elders, President and Sister Christensen, and all the senior couples! Sooo yeah, in a couple hours I'm about to set foot on American soil! That'll be fun. A member in the International Branch gave us free tickets to it, so we don't even have to pay. We don't even know what’s going to happen there. It might be super lame. It'll be from 12-3, so they won't even have fireworks... Plus food and drinks aren't free... I don't know, we'll figure something out to do there.

This last week has been a blurrrr. Wow! On Wednesday morning we walked into the mission home and briefly met President and Sister Christensen for like two minutes. Sister Christensen was like “Now which one of you is Elder Neuberger. I've heard a lot about you from the Cutlers and Spendloves." I was like "ohhh no…what'd they tell you..." The Christensen's are the nicest, funniest people in the world! On Wednesday that was really all we saw of the Christensen's, because for the rest of that short day they were sitting in offices with President and Sister Moon and being whisked over to Church services offices and thing like that. Utter mayhem. On Wednesday evening the Christensens, Moons, and senior couples went to dinner with each other, then they came back to the mission home, dropped off the Christensens, and a senior couple took the Moons off to the airport. There were supposedly a lot of members there to see them off. That made me feel good. That's exactly what the Moons deserve for the service that they have given over the past three years.

Saying goodbye to the Moon's before they left for the airport.  Sister Moon, Elder LeNguyen, Elder Morris, President Moon, Elder Eppley, me

On Thursday morning we walked into the mission home and Elder Eppley and I almost immediately got called into President's office to meet with him and Sister Christensen and kind of get on the same page before we would buzz off to a “Meet the President” meeting at the South stake center for the South and East zones at 10 am. The Christensen's are seriously so funny and cool! He was a YSA bishop for a long time, so both of them really know how to relate and be cool with young people. In our meeting with them before we went over, they were just like "We want these ‘Meet the President’ meetings to be as informal and relaxed as possible. We just want them to be able to learn a bit about our stories and where we're coming from. Do you think missionaries would really be interested in stuff like where'd we meet and stuff like that?" We were like “Um Yaaaa!” All the missionaries love them. They're both just so personable, and they have a way about them that makes you respect them so much, but they do not intimidate you at all either.

After we got back from that meeting Elder Eppley and I met with them again for a few hours, basically reviewing everything that President Moon went over with him. There is just so much stuff for a mission president to know, and it’s impossible to contain it all in just one day. So he just kept asking questions and we try and answer them to the best of our abilities. We've had to explain a ton just about stuff like the call-in system, what recent converts are, what Convert Baptismal Records are, and just stuff like that. Plus our mission is very independent as well, in that we have a lot of programs like the CBR's and other things that are entirely unique to our mission. We have a lot of different systems and processes that are necessary in our work here that don't really exist in other missions. Not to mention that a lot of the rules in the White Handbook have to be altered to fit the circumstances here so we have to go over all those as well with them too.

South & East Zones "Meet the President" meeting

Friday morning we did the same sort of “Meet the President” meeting for the North and central zones. We've had to drive the Christensens around everywhere they go as well, because their Cambodian licenses haven't come in yet (plus they don't know Phnom Penh yet). Then we came back and had an Office Staff Devotional, which we typically have every Tuesday. Those are basically just a coordination meeting for the office elders, us, the office senior couple, and the Christensens to all get on the same page with the weekly results/events. So that went for about an hour, and then for a few hours after that, Elder Eppley and I, the mission secretary and the Christensens had another meeting where we went over the travel schedule for the next few weeks for them. We'll be leaving on Friday morning of this week to go and start doing the “Meet the President” meetings in the khaets. We're starting in Kampong Cham on Friday. On Saturday morning we'll go up to Siem Reap and do it there, and we'll stay and go to church in Siem Reap as well and we'll be having another p-day in Siem Reap as well. So next time I'll email y’all will be on next Monday. Then we'll leave for Battambang that afternoon and do the meeting in Battambang Tuesday morning and be back to Phnom Penh by Tuesday evening. Elder Eppley and I are pretty excited for this time, because we'll be getting to stay in the same hotels as the Christensens the whole time! Normally we stay at the elder’s homes but this time the Christensens wanted us close for communications purposes. So that'll be cool. We're way excited for the Siem Reap hotel. That one is way nice;)

The tempo has kicked up way high here. It’s so much fun! It’s a great learning opportunity for Elder Eppley and I. Now we get to see how much about the mission and how much Khmae we really know!

Love y’all! Thanks so much for the package! That was a good one! Hope y’all have great Independence Days!

Love Elder Burger

Elder LeNguyen and Morris trying to take King Kong photos with those 3-D fruit snacks that you sent me. 

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