Monday, March 21, 2016

Khmae Bikers

Here's our zone after zone training last week

Hey guys! Emailing y’all after another quick week. It was a hot one for sure! Elder Khiev and I still haven't found any investigators that have stuck and progressed, so we contact a lot. We've found a few people and we meet them once and they're super good, but then it’s really frustrating because they'll never pick up their phone again. We had a group of maybe 5 investigators and potential investigators that we called almost every day this week just trying to get in touch with one of them, and not a single one of them picked up a single time. It's frustrating when people seem so good in the first lesson and then never want to meet again. We've already dropped all the investigators who were here when we got here so we're really starting at ground zero.

This week we're going to try and really work through the active members so that we can see how fertile the referral ground is here. We ask for referrals from everyone we see including the members, but we have just been asking in passing. This week we selected a few active members who we think would be willing to invite friends/family to learn and we have planned some lessons about member missionary work to share with them to try and get some referrals going. One of the lessons we're planning on teaching comes from a video they presented in the worldwide missionary broadcast they had all the missionaries around the world watch about a month ago. Did I ever tell you about that broadcast? It was amazing. First one of its kind they've done in over 10 years. The video shows how easy it is to share the gospel through both word and deed. It really isn't a big deal that we have to get stressed about. It can be done so naturally.

This week I went on two exchanges. First one was on Friday with the assistants. I stayed in Tuol Kouk with Elder Asay. He's a living legend and it was way fun to finally spend a day proselyting with him and learning from the way he does missionary work. It was also good being with him because he used to serve in Tuol Kouk not too long ago, so we were able to meet with a couple less-actives that he is close with so that he could encourage them to come back. Elder Khiev went with Elder Christensen in Chaktomuk.

We went straight from ending that exchange Friday night to starting another one. I went to Pochentong with Elder Khiev (no not my regular companion. Yes there is another Elder Khiev in our zone. Yes he is also from Kampong Cham just like my companion. Yes, all the khmaes think that's just hilarious.) Elder Khiev is Elder Kim's kid whom he's training right now. It was way fun going back to Pochentong for another exchange. That was my third or fourth exchange I've done there. It was so fun serving there with Elder Khiev the Younger. I figured out sometime the middle of our exchange that he is the youngest missionary I have ever spent a day of proselyting with ever. That includes the people I was comps with when they were fresh from the MTC. It's because if Elder Khiev went to the MTC for 9 weeks he'd only be in week 5 or week 6 in the MTC right now, but since he's khmae they only go to the MTC for a week and half. Pretty cool. 

The elders in our zone riding to Burger King after zone training. Starring, from left to right: Elder Khiev the Elder, Elder Riches, some maniac, Elder Mathers, Elder Paramore, Elder Cravens, Elder Kim, Elder Le Nguyen, and Elder Khiev the Younger

Yesterday at church I had a way cool experience. I stood up after the closing prayer in sacrament meeting and in the back row, sitting next to a member who knows a ton of English, was a big, super athletic looking African. The member called me over and I started talking to him. He was so cool! He's a professional footballer here in Phnom Penh. He comes from Cameroon and he's been here for a couple years. He came because he felt that he needed to come back and find Christ. He asked whether this was a Catholic or a Presbyterian church and I told him it was neither. I got his information and told him about the international branch and offered to translate for him if he wanted to stay for another hour. He said he'd love to and so I translated for him during a great Sunday School lesson. After the closing prayer he immediately said to me in his deep velvety voice "Wow! That was powerful. That's food for the soul."  Haha, . . . ahh man so cool. Hopefully the office elders teach him here in the next couple days.

Haha, breaking news right now: Elder Khiev is currently taking the opportunity to give a play-by-play explanation of all the Bible videos on to the lookpuu sitting next to him, who has been creepily leaning on his armchair watching him email this whole time. How's that for clutch? Haha

Hey by the way through a turn of events I lost my suit I had cut when I was in the office. Elder Mias, a khmae elder, who went to England a couple weeks ago found this suit in his wardrobe (the same wardrobe where I had hung up my suit while sleeping on the floor of his and Elder Slaven's apartment). He thought it was an old elder’s who had left it there.  Elder Mias would always walk out and model it for us. My mind was so wrapped up in whitewashing and not having an apartment of my own that it never crossed my mind that it was my suit. Then he left to England wearing it, haha. I guess it’s good that he has it. He's poor and only had one suit, and he’s going to have to be wearing one every day in England anyway, so he might as well have two. Haha, bit crazy. But could I cut another suit? I've only cut the one, I think before I was telling you I'd cut two, but I'll just cut one more and call it good.

This week was the only week of my mission that I can remember not having taught a single investigator lesson... That was a tough tough pill to swallow last night. But it's ok. This is the Lord's work and Elder Khiev and I are doing everything we can and the Lord will guide us to those He is preparing in this area. I know that’s true. All we can do is continue working our hearts out and repenting and overcoming our personal weaknesses, so that we can continue to become purer and purer vessels for the Spirit, who is the real teacher. Man I love the mission. Could anything be harder? Could anything be better? Not at this point in life. No. The mission means everything to me. People tell me that it ends someday, but I don't know if I believe them. It doesn't feel like it will. And I hope it continues to feel like that. I don't want it to sink in that I have to go back to America someday.

Love Elder Burger

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