Saturday, October 31, 2015

Office Life

Modeling a bike vest from the Thailand mission. It says "I'm a Mormon" in Thai on it, as well as has the website address in Thai. Elder Kim got it went to Thailand to have surgery. We're going to try and sell everyone on it because we think they're way cool and would help with safety as well, I guess.

This week was good. Got a new desk so that was exciting. Also conducted a mission-wide bike inventory to accommodate for changes in transfers. Thrilling...Haha, just kidding. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to make my weeks seem cool to y’all, cuz I sit in an office planning things all day, but this week was actually way fun (well they all are).

First off, we did a lot of planning for MLC this next week. Planning training with President is always so much fun. It's been such a blessing to be able to be around him and Sister Christensen so much.

We'll be doing a lot of follow-up about past councils we've done, just knowing where issues lie now. Elder Elieson and I felt really strongly to do training about basic lesson structuring. It’s so important to know how to put together a lesson. Many people don't tell people a summary of what they're going to teach before they teach them, or tell them how this message they're about to share will be applicable in the life of that person. Sometimes as missionaries we just teach but we don't think about where we're going. Every sentence has a direction. We've got to take the people we teach places. We've got to go down to their level and build clear, simple staircases to bring them up to where we are. Lessons have to be purpose-driven, not just blocks of time that you go and talk to somebody.

Teaching skills is something I really started paying attention to when I had the opportunity to train another missionary for the first time. Before that, when I was in my own training and when I was with Elder Vuut and Elder Kim, I was a lot more preoccupied with learning the language and being good at it. But then one day it just kind of clicked that that wasn't what I was called to do. I was called to invite others to come unto Christ, and if I couldn't do that in a clear, precise, easy-to-understand-and-relate-to sort of way, well then it would be all in vain. So then I really started actively trying to improve my teaching skills. Preach My Gospel is such a wonderful book. It teaches us so well the way that we can teach others. I am naturally such a horrible teacher that I've had to look at it a ton, haha. Both covers of it have worn off at this point. It's held together by masking tape and bright neon green string. It’s also been through its fair share of monsoons. But the teachings inside of it are the same. I plan on treasuring and applying the principles of Preach My Gospel the rest of my life. You better believe my kids will be getting their fair share of it during family home evenings and what not.

This last week was fun. Sunday all of South Stake went to Steung Mean Chey building to watch General Conference, since so many people couldn't watch it a few weeks ago when they showed it for the first time during Pchum Ben. I got to see many of my recent converts!! Oh man, I know I say this a lot, but it is the most amazing thing to help people come unto Christ and see them continue on that road. Alma 29:9-10 always seems to be in the back of my mind: "

9 This is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.

10 And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.

Monday/Tuesday were normal office days, planning logistics, conducting inventories, planning training, preparing agendas, coming up with district meeting topics, etc. 

Wednesday was super fun. We went on exchange with the Central Zone leaders (Vietnamese missionaries in Phnom Penh)! I went with Elder Morris. He's the coolest. He's a living legend already in our mission. He's also in my group and I served with him in the office for three months. We had a blast going around, walking through alleys/rat holes/railroads trying to find Vietnamese people to teach. The Vietnamese in Phnom Penh are dirt poor, mainly because, to put it very delicately, Khmaes do not like them . . . at all. So it was fun going around, contacting all day long. We taught a couple lessons too. In one of them Elder Morris just had to translate for me the whole time, but in the others the people we talked to actually knew more Khmae than Viet so we just taught them in two languages. That was a great exchange.

Then Thursday we got back to the office, caught up on some work, and Friday we were exchanging again. Elder Elieson went with the South Zone leaders and I went with Elder Cook and Elder Rom, who actually live with us and proselyte full time in the Chaktomuk ward. Elder Cook is training Elder Rom. They're hilarious and love having a good time, but they're also just about the hardest working companionship in the mission. Elder Rom already knows a ton of Khmae (both of his parents are from Cambodia and he was raised speaking it). They're locomotives. I love Chaktomuk area. There are some great investigators/members here. You would never know they were here though unless you went looking for them. Chaktomuk is almost entirely made up of alleys/sketchy apartment buildings. The tourists here never know though, because they're just going to the main street attractions. But just 30 feet behind those attractions are the dark, dank, dirty alleys of Chaktomuk.

Sombor (our mission secretary) brought his brand new baby into the office Thursday. President just about flipped he was so excited, haha

The senior couple in charge of P.R. here has started a new "Families Can Be Together Forever" campaign here. They gave each missionary 150 cards that have the Cambodian Mormon Newsroom website on them and in Khmae "Families can be together forever". They also bought Facebook ads which will be going to almost 500,000 people, plus they bought 15 signs to put on the back of tuk-tuks. I've been trying to see one for a couple days now. Well when we were riding through Chaktomuk yesterday, just like 5 feet in front of us this tuk-tuk peels off the sidewalk and starts driving right in front of us with one of those signs. Elder Cook, Rom, and I got way pumped! Then not even three minutes later another pulled off right in front of us! Haha it was awesome.  

Another cool thing this week is that Elder Uhi reached his year-mark! That's crazy. Can't believe it’s been that long since we've been together. Feels like yesterday...

In a couple weeks Sister Esplin and Sister Marriott from the General Primary and Young Women's Presidencies will be coming to Cambodia with their husbands! Man we get so many General Authorities and officers here! Since I've been here we've had Brother Tanner from Sunday School presidency, Brother Gibson from Young Mens, Elder Snow of the Seventy, Bishop Davies from the Presiding Bishopric, Elder Gong and Funk of the Seventy several times each, and of course, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. President Christensen was laughing as he was telling us this, he said that Elder Funk, in the Asia Area Presidency, told him that: "You know President, you have to know. The reason y’all get so many General authorities and officers is because Cambodia is at the top of the list of 'Must-Go' places at Church Headquarters! Everyone wants to go there!" Well I can't disagree with that.

I love y’all! Hope y’all have a great week! And a happy Halloween too I guess. If they still celebrate that over in America. I don't know...

Love, Elder Burger

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