Saturday, October 10, 2015

General Conference and a confirmation

We purchase a lot of bikes. I've bought somewhere around 50 since entering the office. Since we buy so many, we are tight with the bike guy. He usually throws in a gift or two when we go and make big bike purchases, since we're ម៉ូយ's (regulars). This time he gave us ផ្លែទៀប, or custard apples. I've seen them all the time since coming here but have never been brave enough to try them, since they look pretty nasty. They're all scaly and black and green and kinda rotten looking. But you just peel off the scales and eat it and it's so good. Tastes exactly like trolli gummi peach rings. Spot on. Just got a bunch of seeds that you've gotta spit out.

General Conference is here!!! Isn't it cool, that although the Saints over here live 10,000 miles away, and speak a language completely unintelligible to English (or most human languages for that matter. It’s probably more related to Martian), and even though 99% of members don't have Wi-Fi or TVs in their homes, that we can all still watch General Conference within just a week of it happening?

Isn't living in the fullness of times so cool? The Lord has certainly laid the foundation for a technological infrastructure that could facilitate the growth of the true church in this last dispensation! 

This morning we went over to the South Stake Center and watched the Saturday morning session. There were so many great parts of it. I really liked the talk by Elder Lawrence about receiving little correcting revelations that will gradually help us progress on the path of discipleship. The other talks were great as well. I love the metaphors that President Uchtdorf always uses. It seems that everyone was talking about the end goal of exaltation and the journey of discipleship, and how the ship that carries us on that journey is the Church, which is propelled forward by the priesthood power of God.

So quick run-down on this last week:
Last Saturday President was totally cool with us staying over in the office and watching the beginning of conference live so that we could watch the new apostles be announced. Problem was that they weren't announced in that morning session. So we went to bed disappointed. But we woke up in the morning and one of us had gotten a text from a member who translates for General Conference telling us about the 3 new apostles! Elder Rasband, Elder Stevenson, and Elder Renlund! Wow! Elder Rasband and Elder Stevenson were names that had been speculated quite a bit between us here, but boy was Elder Renlund a surprise! Good for him! His talk from last conference was quoted all the time by Elder Morris and I: "Twas I, but tis not I". Haha, we used that phrase 20 times a day when we were in the office together. 

When Elder Elieson first read off the text though, I didn't feel right. I felt just like I had before he read the text. There was no feeling that came washing over me or any confirmation that these men really now held the office of an apostle. I was alarmed a bit, but didn't worry about it. I thought that maybe God would require a couple of days of prayer and asking for me to have that confirmation for myself. Well sure enough, Monday morning comes and first thing we do when we get in the office is pulling up the video on of President Eyring announcing the new apostles. As I watched this warmth slowly started coming over me and immediately after, as I knelt and prayed to begin my personal study, I asked for a confirming witness of whether these men really were apostles, and whether they were really called of God or of men. In that prayer I had such a wonderful witness that these men now are apostles. I am excited to return to the South Stake Center in just a few minutes to watch the afternoon session and to have the privilege of sustaining those three men as well as all the other general authorities and officers of the Church.

This is really such a cool apostle-calling time for me personally because, even though I clearly remember President Uchtdorf and Bednar and Cook and Christofferson and Anderson receiving their calls, this is the first time where I have clearly known who the new apostles were before they were apostles! Like I've studied and listened to these 3 men’s talks for years! In high school, I honestly couldn't have named all the 12 apostles for you off the top of my head. In college I could at least do that much, but I couldn't probably name anyone in the Presidency of the Seventy for you. But since I've come on my mission I have come to love and adore the men and women who lead our Church, especially the Apostles, but also the wonderful men of the Seventy and the men and women in the general auxiliary presidencies. They really are all chosen servants of God.

Tuesday we had a great MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) in the morning. There was some great training on how to run Zone Training Meetings by Elder Elieson and some really productive councils on studies and finding people and obedience. Those three topics are really something we're trying to hit hard and fine tune.

Immediately after MLC, President and Sister Christensen hopped on a plane with Elder Morris and Elder Thai, the Vietnamese zone leaders, to fly to Vietnam to do zone conferences there. I'm way pumped for Elder Morris. He's been waiting his whole mission to be able to go to Vietnam and now he finally has his chance. Way cool how the Lord prepares opportunities for all of us.

After MLC ended Elder Elieson and I did a couple runs shuttling people to the Khmae and Vietnamese bus stations, for those who don't live in Phnom Penh. Then right after we finished that we swung back to the mission home, grabbed Elder Zierenberg (from my group) and Elder Sok, the Battambang zone leaders, and started our drive up to Battambang. It was a way fun drive with those guys. Only problem was that National Road #5, the road leading out of Phnom Penh to Battambang, was crazy bumpy as we were exiting Phnom Penh. This little high pitched squealing noise started and it kept getting worse and then going away and then getting worse and then going away as we drove (I just typed "drived" and then had to look at it for quite a while to determine that "drived" is in fact not the past tense of 'drive". Khmae'll mess you up like that too if any of y’all ever decide to learn it). We tried getting it checked out in Pursat but every single car mechanic we stopped at, which was about 5, said that it was too late to fix a car. Haha, whatever.. So we kept going and made it to Battambang safely.

Wednesday I went with Elder Zierenberg and Elder Sok. They're a blast. They are both really solid elders who are doing a great job leading their zone. It was fun learning from them on that exchange. 

So after Battambang on Thursday Elder Elieson and I were planning on driving over to Kampong Cham and doing an exchange there on Friday, but one of the zone leaders there broke his foot and went to the hospital for it the day we left for Battambang so we called him Wednesday night and decided between the four of us that maybe pushing that exchange back would be more effective. So instead of continuing on through Siem Reap and Kampong Thom as planned, we headed over to a mechanic in Battambang, who said that it wasn't any problems with ball bearings or axle like we thought, but he said that our brake pads were just swollen from mud and water. We took his word for it and kept driving on, weird sound and all. We made it back safe. I tried to take lots of photos to show y’all a little of what the Cambodian countryside looks like. 

So we've been back for a couple days now. Yesterday we went to zone training meeting in the morning in Steung Mean Chey, then we ran over to the Service Center and picked up the conference dvds, then spent the rest of the day running them over to the North Stake Center, Stueng Mean Chey and Kean Svaay. 

This morning we had to run over to the bus station to deal with a problem that was created when the Service center sent out the conference dvds to Posat but put the wrong phone number on the package so when the elders went to pick it up they wouldn't let them take it. So we had to go and deal with that. There was so much chaos there. There was literally like 400 people crammed on this tiny street corner which is what the bus station is. It’s because Pchum Ben is starting right now. It would be like going to the airport in America a couple days before Christmas.

Well I love y’all! So excited for the rest of conference!

Elder Burger

From our exchange a couple of weeks ago. Elder Elieson, Elder Neuberger, Elder Paramore, Elder Christensen
This mountain is where the kings are buried. Its called Phnom Oudong, which means tall/high/grand mountain. There is a big Buddha statue in the wat at the top. The legend is that the Chinese, way back when, thought that the reason the Khmae Kingdom was so powerful was because of a dragon that they had, which lived in this mountain. So they went and filled the dragons cave with water and stuck a huge gold Buddha on top of the cave.
The drive between Battambang and Phnom Penh. I think the prettiest part of the whole drive is the section between Posat and Kampong Chhnang 

Soccer field that looks like a quidditch pitch. I don't know why, but Elder Elieson and I just thought it's way cool looking

 Entering back into Phnom Penh

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