Monday, January 25, 2016

The Rats Have Laid Siege

What's going on y’all? Sounds like y’all had good weeks.

This week out in Prey Cho was great! Elder Walker and I are working as hard as we can to get this group progressing. This week went really well. We were able to meet several less-actives who we haven't been able to meet for several weeks (or at all)! Some of them came back in from other provinces where they were picking khmae potatoes and whatnot. We also had a wonderful day at church on Sunday! I'll tell you about it.

But first let me tell you about the battle for our home we're currently undergoing. So we live in the middle of a rice mill/pig/chicken farm. So you would expect there to be a lot of rats and mice. But for the first transfer I was here I didn't see a single one (well, inside of our house). But now they are seemingly launching D-day on our house. They keep us up all night with their squeaking, the rats without and the mice within. The nice thing about Cambodian rats is that they are so big there is no way they can fit their way into a house at all. The ones inside the rice mill are especially big. They've gotten huge from eating rice (side note: it always feels sooooo weird and incorrect to me to use the same word in English for the plant rice, uncooked rice, and cooked rice. In Khmae there's totally different words for rice depending on its state).  They are literally as big as our landlord's cat. The other day the cat had a big open wound on its backside (right down to the muscle) and I asked our landlord what happened and he said a rat got it in the warehouse. Welcome to Kampuchea, where the rats hunt the cats. Jerry-1, Tom-0... Our landlord’s big old dog also has some scars on its snout from battles with the rice mill rats.

So yeah. The mice have made a nest in the a/c unit in our room, which hangs about 6 feet over my head. Oh it’s so annoying at night. I'm paranoid one is going to fall out of the a/c on top of me, haha.

This week at church was awesome. Our investigator Ming Phen came to church for the second time and she brought her husband, whom we teach as well, with her! I love serving in a group, because when somebody who isn't a member walks in, everyone in the group takes notice and helps fellowship them. 

So about a month ago, Elder Smith and I were riding our bikes and these guys called us over and said they were members of our church (I think I told you about this if y’all remember). They were asking about Gordon B. Hinckley was doing, and were talking about how they used to learn about Nephi/Lehi and all that. Turns out they joined the church in Kampong Cham about 10 years ago and then moved out to the countryside and didn't realize a group had been established. So one of the guys I tried to call for 2-3 weeks to be able to invite him to church and he never picked up. We would go by his house and try and pick him and his brother up but they were never there.  So last week I gave up, but yesterday morning I had this feeling that I should give him a call. I called him and he didn't pick up. I was disappointed. But then a couple minutes later I got the impression, "I haven't given my full effort yet. Call Vanet one more time". So I did, seemingly just for kicks and giggles. After the third or fourth dial tone he picked up! I told him who I was, how we'd met him a few weeks earlier, and how we were anxious to meet him at church. I told him again where it was and what time we met. He said he would try to make it but didn't know for sure if he could. Lo and behold, right at 2:00 (our church time) Vanet pulls up with two nonmember friends who he had invited to come! It was his first time coming to church in almost 10 years! And Puu Dee, being the great guy he is, invited him to give the opening prayer. As he got up to stand at the podium, he leaned over to Puu Dee and said quietly, "I don't remember how." Puu Dee says, "It's ok. Try, just try!" So he did and said a wonderful prayer! It was awesome. 

Later in sacrament meeting, as I was playing the song "I Stand All Amazed" two octaves lower than normal (the middle 12 keys on our keyboard don't work so you've got to play super high or low), I looked up and saw the members singing and made eye-contact with a semi less-active neakming named Ming Srey whom we teach. She just gave me a smile, and I just felt so happy that she came, and all these others came. And even though sacrament meetings aren't perfect, even though rats always run out of the podium, and little completely naked dusty two year olds run through everyone’s legs kicking a lime around, even though people pick up their phone in the middle of the sacrament, I felt the Spirit so strongly. The Church is true no matter where you go. Sure there's a lot of kinks we're trying to sort out here in this young group, but they're trying their hardest to be faithful to what they know to be true. I had to fight back the tears as I played.

Experiences like that are common in the mission. Just little moments, where for a split second, the Spirit burns in you and you can feel God's love completely fill you, not just for yourself, but for those who you are looking at as well. Even though sometimes I feel like me and my companion have to act as bowling bumpers to keep the false doctrine from going too far out of bounds in Sunday School, I know that the Cambodian saints have testimonies of the basic truth of our Savior, His gospel, and His Church.

I'm so grateful for basic truths that I have known my whole life. I remember being so perplexed as a little kid as to why people always treated the question "What is the purpose of life?" as the deepest question of all time. I was like "What do you mean 'What's the purpose of life?' It's to learn, grow, receive a body, and prepare ourselves to meet God! Doesn't everyone know that?!"

It's such a blessing to have been born in this church. Not just any church, but the restored Church of Jesus Christ, which was established by Him and is governed by Him, yesterday, today, and forever. 

I hope y’all have wonderful weeks! I love y’all!

Love Elder Burger

Editor's Note:  Elder Neuberger has not sent pictures for the past two weeks.  These pictures were taken by Elder & Sister VanBrocklin.  They have a blog filled with beautiful pictures at

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