|Ming Phen and Leak and Leap were baptized 2 weeks after I left Prey Cho (they got interviewed like 2 days after I left)!! Just got the pics. Man it makes me so happy seeing them be baptized.|
Wow, General Conference! Isn't it the coolest?!! I can never believe it when it's over. It's like, did I really just watch ten hours of that? It goes by wayyyy too fast. I had so many favorite talks. I think if I had to pick a couple it'd be Elder Holland’s (that can just go unsaid) and Elder Hallstrom's. I got chills as he talked about the saints in Liberia. I think my favorite moment though was when President Uchtdorf got up and announced the music and final speaker after Elder Kearon's talk about the refugee crisis. I've watched President Uchtdorf for more than 10 years now and I've never seen him cry. That was moving.
Man such a feast. How can you not be uplifted as you listen to it? I liked Elder Holland's talk so much because it reflected something that had really become a concern of mine as we kept leaving the church building after sessions. I mean like Saturday evening we left after having watched 3 inspiring sessions of conference and as we go to try and teach someone, we re-enter into a world of filth and sin. On our 10 minute bike ride to our appointment we rode past literally hundreds of drunk people and prostitutes, using horrible language, blaring discordant Khmae techno music... It was like plunging into a filthy ice bath. I thought "how can I keep such a feeling of spiritual enlightenment when this world I live in is so ignorant and blind to the true road of God?!" Elder Holland's talk was an answer to prayer.
This next week is going to be an interesting one. I say that with clenched teeth, haha. Khmae New Year begins Wednesday, which means no one is going to be in Phnom Penh at all. Tons of people have already left to their provinces and Tuesday the great exodus will occur. Thankfully President scheduled as many possible events he could this week to help us out. So Tuesday we have a "don't-leave-your-house-till-its-spotless" cleaning day, Wednesday is zone conference, and Thursday we have a luncheon at a buffet with everyone else in the city. It's still going to be rough though... But it's okay, being with Elder Khiev makes things easy.
Elder Khiev is the coolest. He's a walking Liahona story. This is his story. He was born and raised on a small farm in the backwoods of rural Cambodia. His dad abandoned him and his mom when he was a few months old. He's only met his dad once in his life. His mom and him and his two older siblings lived in a very small bamboo and palm-leaf shack. That's what he lived in his whole life. When he was 19 he moved to the capital city of Kampong Cham to go to college. He lived with his aunt, who was a member of the church, who eventually convinced him to repent and be baptized (that aunt now lives in Salt Lake). That was 5 years ago. In the time since then he went through a period of inactivity (when his aunt moved to America) for a few months, then came back with a bang, and became the legendary District Young Men's President of Kampong Cham. They still talk about how great he was over there. Now he's 25, graduated from college, and he's been on his mission for over a year. He's a spiritual fireball. He came out on his mission to work hard and he's bent on doing just that, all day, every day for as long as he's wearing a missionary badge. He's also just about the biggest khmae ever. He's about 6 feet tall. People always ask him what he ate as a kid to make him so big, haha.
Man I love the mission. I loved something Elder Stevenson said at conference. It highlighted something I've been thinking about off and on my whole mission. As a youth I thought that the gathering of Israel was an event that would be immediately precedent to Armageddon and the Second Coming of the Savior. It is not. On my mission I have come to know, with increasing clarity, that the gathering of Israel has been happening for a long, long time now. It begun in the year 1836, when the great Hebrew prophet Moses appeared to Joseph Smith to bestow upon him the priesthood keys of the gathering of Israel. All missionaries across the earth today proclaim the gospel with power and authority, which comes directly from those same priesthood keys, which are held and exercised today by our prophet Thomas S. Monson. It is our sacred privilege and mandate as the youth of Zion to be the hope of Israel – to have an active part in preparing the vineyard of the Lord for the great harvest of souls. This isn't some humanitarian mission trip, to provide temporary relief to the people of the earth (although those are extremely necessary too). This is two years where we are called by God to go forth and help His divine children remember why they came to this earth in the first place. We as twenty year-old missionaries have an active role in helping people receive eternal salvation. How could anything be cooler?
|Ming Phen, Leak and Leap on their baptism day. This picture makes me so happy!|
That kind of relates to something a member of the Seventy said during one of my first weeks in the MTC that I've always liked and remembered. It's that we are called as missionaries, and assigned to our missions. I was not called to serve in Cambodia, although that is a common phrase people (including me) often use. I was called to represent Jesus Christ and to invite others to come unto Him by receiving His restored gospel. I was assigned to do that here in Cambodia. But man, how much do I love both my calling and assignment. Both were made by God to me. I have a sincere testimony of that.
I hope everything goes well this week. Good luck with finals Maddie! Love yall!
Love Elder Burger
|Whats upppp??!! From me and Elder Paramore's exchange last week|