Another Pchum Ben come and gone. The typical exodus from Phnom Penh ensued, although here in the heart of Chaktomuk, just a couple hundred meters from Hun Saen's mansion and the Independence Monument, things weren't nearly as quite as they were out on the city fringes in Pochentong last year. Last year we would bike around forever not seeing anyone. This year there was still a small amount of people in Chaktomuk but it wasn't quite as ស្ងាត់ឆឹង like Pochentong last year.
Conference last week was amazing. It was so much fun going and viewing it at the South Stake Center with the other missionaries in the south and east zones. Man oh man, there were so many good talks. I don't know if I'm just more spiritually mature, or if a bar-raising has actually occurred, but I feel like the Seventy have really been picking up their game recently at conference. Elder Elieson and I were laughing, feeling bad for the guy who has to follow Elder Holland, but he actually did a great job (Elder Foster)! So many good talks given. One of the ones that Elder Elieson and I have really taken to heart and started applying, along with several other companionships we've talked to, is the one by Elder Durrant about "ponderizing". Have y’all started doing that yet?! This week Elder Elieson and I are doing 2 Nephi 1:23: "Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust." We are ponderizing it in English, and then just straight memorizing it in Khmae. Pretty cool idea from Elder Durrant, nothing particularly new or outrageous, but I think he sold everyone on the idea of pondering and memorizing scriptures.
Something that I did this conference, that I've never been particularly good at before, but which I really focused on doing, was not writing down the things the speakers said. I mean I'm going to get a Liahona in a month with all of it word for word anyway! Instead I wrote down impressions and especially questions that came from the Spirit. By the end of conference I had 30-something introspective questions written down. I've rewritten them all out in my study journal and I'm excited to begin studying them, one by one, to seek for ways that I can improve myself. I feel like most of the questions I wrote down had to do with things that I want to do better. I'm so glad I did it like that because now what I have is basically my own personal Alma 5 to reflect and study on for the next 6 months!
The rest of the week was good. Monday and Tuesday the whole mission (well in Cambodia at least) had mandatory deep cleaning days. Nobody is sober or at their homes during Pchum Ben, so proselyting is completely ineffective, including contacting. So everyone had to stay inside and get their houses spotless. Lucky for us in the office, we just moved into a new house so ours was pretty clean. Which was good, because since we're in the office, we still had work to do! So Pchum Ben didn't really change up our office schedule too much. Tuesday night we got everyone in Phnom Penh together at the South Stake Center as a reward for going hard deep-cleaning. We put on Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. That movie is so good every time! Then we all had ice cream. Flavors: Chocolate and taro… Haha, Asia.
We also had a couple transfer planning meetings with President. Those are always fun. We had the final one this morning. Calls will be going out tomorrow night! Gotta love the excitement of transfers. I'll let y’all know next week what I'll be doing.
Starting Thursday night, we went on exchange with the North zone leaders and another companionship in Tuk Thlaa. I went with the zone leaders, Elder Uhi and Elder Beacco out in Pochentong. It was a blast. I love getting to be able to go out on exchanges with my son! Both of them are awesome elders, which made it fun. We tried emphasizing planning out specific hours in the day where we will totally focus on finding, not just making finding a backup plan for when lessons fall through. That's something big we've been trying to get going in our mission. Making finding a priority, not just a backup plan all the time. We also focused on effective studies and studying for the investigators. Recently, that’s something I've really been trying to work on for myself and I've seen progress in my studies. Keeping a regular study journal is definitely the x-factor. On my mission, whenever I've been good about keeping one, studies always go so much better and revelation comes clearer and more often. I think it shows the Lord that you care about what He reveals to you if you write it, instead of pondering it for a second and then dismissing it.
The exchange was fun though. We were out in Chaochau for most of the day. That's the far west side of Phnom Penh. It’s in both Stung Mean Chey 2nd ward and Pochentong, so basically my whole mission I've been serving out there!
One of my favorite talks from conference was Elder Holland, of course, how could it not be? On my mission in a million different ways I've come to appreciate you and your different talents Mom. Many of them I can't believe I didn't recognize or notice before the mission but now I can't help but look back in awe at how amazing of a mother you've been to me. Thanks for being so firmly converted to the gospel my whole life. Your quiet discipleship when no one is looking is I think the single greatest testimony builder for me. I remember driving back from priesthood session one time with dad and we were discussing how we could both do a better job of more regularly studying the scriptures and Dad said, "You know, your mom is the best example of that. I don't remember the last time she went a day without reading the scriptures." All the times where I've stumbled on you reading in your scriptures in your room, or, as a little kid, barging into you and dad's room early in the morning only to see the two of you kneeling down together in prayer before dad went to work, have had a greater impact on me than any family home evening lesson y’all ever taught (although those helped a lot too. I think my testimony of the Book of Mormon began to be kindled as me and Maddie dressed up in bathrobes and acted out being Moroni). Through those experiences I can completely agree with the stripling warriors and say "We do not doubt our mothers knew it." So thanks for your example and testimony. It carried me through high school, and college, and now 10,000 miles away on a mission it still strengthens me.
I love you Mom, and all the rest of y’all too! Hope y’alls weeks are great. ហើយក៍ សូមសិក្សាក្នុងព្រះគម្ពីរមរមនជាទៀងទាត់ណា!