Hey y’all! I'm emailing in the year 2016! That's crazy! 2016 is so far in the future, it doesn't even seem real. Having International New Year in Cambodia cracks me up. They honestly don't really care. They follow the international calendar, but for International New Year it's not even a big deal. We kept saying Happy New Year’s to people who we were contacting on New Year’s Day and they kept saying "Huh, is it new year’s today? What day is it?" "First of January." "Huh, well I guess it is New Years." And that's that. Haha, but when Chinese New Year comes around, which literally has nothing to do with Cambodia at all, they party for 3 days nonstop. And then Khmae New Year is like 3 weeks of partying. Ahhhh I love it!
A fun contacting anecdote from this week: We were in Prey Cho village, contacting down this street we've never gone down, and this Ming told us she was busy, which is what everybody tells you if they don't want to learn because Cambodians are afraid to offend you, so they don't tell you straight they don't want to learn, they just say they're busy. But she said it so cool I was fine with her saying she was busy. She said, "I want to learn, I really do, but I'm never here. I go out to the fields, I come back, I go to watch the cows, then I come back and watch the grandkids, then I go and buy food at the market and come back and make it. I'm randomly back and forth. I'm like a firefly." Haha I was like wow "I'm like a firefly"?? That's deep ming. We've scheduled to come back and teach her son though, who lives down this little country lane about 30 meters from her house, and who we had happened to meet just a few minutes before we contacted her.
Yesterday Ming Sophal was baptized! It was a great Sunday. We left our house a little after 6:30 in the morning so we could bike the 3ish kilos out west to her house. Only problem was Elder Smith's bike broke down late Saturday night (which I'm sure is the specified time set apart by Satan to wreak havoc on all missionaries' bikes), so we just doped each other on one bike out there. Kinda tiring, but not too bad. So we got there around 7 and flagged down a car with her so we could take her to church in Kampong Cham (we go to KC 3rd branch every fast Sunday). We had 71 people at sacrament meeting, which is a ton for that branch!! We even got like 10 people from our group out too, which is good, because it’s a big financial sacrifice for the members to go out to Kampong Cham. So church was from 8-11 and then Ming Sophals baptism was at 11. Elder Smith baptized her. There was also a little 8 year old girl being baptized; apparently her parents are less-actives. Good for her too though! Ming Sophal;'s testimony is incredibly strong. It's incredible and a little formidable witnessing and participating in eternal ordinances. She will literally remember that ordinance forever. How cool to participate in such a lasting work!
|Ming Sophal's baptism at Kampong Cham 3rd Branch building|
Other than that, not too much went on this week. We did a lot of contacting this week, going out to some villages we hadn't been to before, including Poom Goke Trea Lec, Poom Tajak, and Poom Dongao. We have a couple return appointments scheduled for Tuesday that I'm excited about! One of the them is with Bong Lae, who is the son of the firefly lady. We met him a few days ago when he waved us down along the national highway and in broken English asked if we would come and visit his English class that he teaches. We said we'd love to, so a couple days later we went and taught English to his class of 12 year olds that he teaches in a brick and tin shack building beside his house. It has these wooden bleacher sort of things for the kids to sit on. We taught for like 45 minutes and then had to run to Ming Sophal's baptismal interview, but we went back a couple days later and he said he would be really interested in learning more about Christ and His true church! Also later that day we were up in Phum Goke Trea and we were contacting a loke-puu who said he wasn't interested but said there was a woman named Ming Pane over there (he points vaguely over his shoulder) who is a Christian. So we were excited, since Christians out here in Srok Prey Cho are super rare. So we headed out in that direction, asking people as we went if they wanted to learn about Jesus Christ and then asking if they knew Ming Pane and where she lives (which would be a creepy question in America but it’s totally fine in Cambodia to ask prying questions like that). So we kept going along, down a road to one house, directed across a field to another house until we finally got to hers. We talked to her for about half an hour. We had about 10 others gathered around us as we talked about our church. She said she and her husband were always free and we could definitely come back on Tuesday. So we'll meet her tomorrow as well!
|Out in Phum Tajak and Phum Goke Trea|
One quick thing from my personal study this morning: I am always amazed at how similar the teaching experience for the sons of Mosiah teaching the Lamanites is to teaching Khmaes. Khmaes and the Lamanites have very similar belief systems and culture. It really is remarkable (I'm not talking about being bloodthirsty). I love in Alma 37:7-12, where Alma tells his son of all the benefits of the Book of Mormon and the power and roles it has in conversion.
7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
8 And now, it has hitherto been wisdom in God that these things should be preserved; for behold, they have enlarged the memory of this people, yea, and convinced many of the error of their ways, and brought them to the knowledge of their God unto the salvation of their souls.
9 Yea, I say unto you, were it not for these things that these records do contain, which are on these plates, Ammon and his brethren could not have convinced so many thousands of the Lamanites of the incorrect tradition of their fathers; yea, these records and their words brought them unto repentance; that is, they brought them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and to rejoice in Jesus Christ their Redeemer.
10 And who knoweth but what they will be the means of bringing many thousands of them, yea, and also many thousands of our stiffnecked brethren, the Nephites, who are now hardening their hearts in sin and iniquities, to the knowledge of their Redeemer?
11 Now these mysteries are not yet fully made known unto me; therefore I shall forbear.
12 And it may suffice if I only say they are preserved for a wise purpose, which purpose is known unto God; for he doth counsel in wisdom over all his works, and his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round. Alma 37:7-12