Friday, September 1, 2017

The picture book: The Maker

Sunday August 27, 2017 at 8:12PM

I absolutely love this labor. I love God and I am so grateful for the continuous Light He is bringing in my life and the lives around us. My growth in the mission each and everyday has been rooted from the pure and raw love of how the people here are willing to sacrifice because they love Jesus Christ. It is not stressful anymore when the small and simple things you do becomes so natural, because it is out of love. The beauty of God's plan is to feel His love, to feel, to see,  and to sense all sorts of emotions to understand our divine identity and truth. My job is really to bring back the love that has been ostracized from years of oppression and darkness. To bring light through love. It's becoming more and more natural. All because of the power of God. One of my best friends had said that "true love is not about what others can give you, because  you're empty, it's about what you can give others because you are already full, full with the pure love of Jesus Christ." Just to wake up everyday feeling full and to have that desire to share what makes you happy. God truly is good.

Recently we taught this wonderful woman and her grandchild about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My companion and I were always looking forward to hear her sweet prayer at the end of the lesson. Man, it is truly something. Every time she prays she puts repentance into work. She's start out with addressing Heavenly Father and then the second point would " I am a child of God". She would go on to ask God to continuously help her offer her sins, so she could change. AS she puts it "to wash me clean everyday as I do what you tell me to do". It was so sincere. I can't fully the describe the way she puts her words and heart into it. I mean we are talking about a woman who has lost everyone in her family, even her first husband.  It makes me think about the story that Pres. Uchtdorf mentioned in his talk "The Hope of God's Light". I feel that the Khmer people are still suffering from that history darkness, where the expression of love is faded, where the light in their lives is so dim, where years and history of abuse dictates their destiny. It is so much that yes, in order to protect themselves, they rather choose to stop feeling. However, there is hope and hope brings back light and a freedom to choose for themselves to "pursue that happiness" and to understand our true worth and to realize that worth directly from our Maker.

I love you all and thank you for the love you have sent me!

With much love and gratitude,
Sister Sok

Attached is a pic of a senior missionary, Sister Jones. This is from a conference that happened last week. It was regarding international religious relations, where the Loas ambassadors and many other church denominations leaders came to visit our church. My mission president had asked me to do a quick exchange with another missionary to join in and be a part of the representatives. It was a really nice experience. I got to go in the Family History Center and showed them more about family history work. They toured the church building and it was a really neat experience to bring more of missionary work to the Loas people!

This is my testimony in the Khmer language!
ខ្ញុំស្រលាញ់ម្ដាយខ្លាំងណាស់! ខ្ញុំបានរៀនសូត្រច្រើនណាស់ពីប្រជាជនរបស់ខ្ញុំនៅកម្ពុជា! ខ្ញុំបានរៀនអំពីការបន្ទាបខ្លួននិងសប្បុរសធម៌។ ខ្ញុំបានដឹងពីការឈឺចាប់របស់អ្នកដទៃនិងវិធីជួយព្យាបាលការខូចខាតជីវិតរបស់ពួកគេ។ ប្រជាជនខ្មែរពិតជាអស្ចារ្យណាស់! ពួកគេបានបង្រៀនខ្ញុំយ៉ាងច្រើនអំពីសេចក្ដីស្រឡាញ់សូម្បីតែអ្នកដែលក្រីក្រឬអ្នកមាន។ សេចក្ដីស្រឡាញ់គឺនៅជុំវិញយើង!





"In Christ Alone"

Sunday August 20, 2017 at 8:54PM

Hello Hello Hello!

Cambodia has been such a blessing in my life. It is beautiful in many ways, ways I can't even express. The humility of those around me is astounding. I just want to be with them for as long as I can.

On  Monday, we got to teach this down-to earth young woman. She used to live in New Zealand and obtained her education their. However her uncle had passed away, from a hiking accident,
making it not possible for her to stay in the country without his support. She came back and a few months later, he brother had passed away. When we entered her house, I can't quite explain it but there is this overwhelming love in the house. We were teaching her on the restoration that evening. She had her bible and had opened to James 1:5. While turning to the pages, I realized that there was a picture of her uncle standing on top on the snow mountains of New Zealand. It was a memoir/ program for his passing away. We asked if we could take his picture out of the scriptures and to look at it. I decided to place it on the center of we were sitting on the floor. More and more, we felt this great peace around us as we continued to teach her about the profound truth of the Restoration. It was like the spirit of her uncle was there, right there with us, touching his niece's heart to greater truths. At the end of the lesson, I glanced at pamphlet program of her uncle's and realized that the closing song was in "In Christ Alone". Oh my, that is one of my favorite songs. We asked her if we could sing together. An even such a greater spirit entered our hearts. The room was gloomy and so peaceful. I learned more that day, that love is kind, it is all around me, all around us. I know that Christ lives,with all of my heart. I know this to be true.

Every Wednesday, we'd go on a quick visit before lunch to this cute elderly woman's house. Man, she is the sweetest! She does not have any family members and lives in a house all by herself. She has this crazy cat, that has the same name as my last name. Crazy. But she is one of the strongest members of the Gospel. Well, last weekend, we went  ahead to do her dishes and help her clean the house, man she got feisty, but in a cute way. We left and came back the next week to her telling us how mad she was that we served her by cleaning her house. She told us that she is a capable independent woman and the one thing she is not capable of is reading. Her eyes are not as clear, making it difficult for  her to read.

She told us that we serve her enough! She wants to be independent and the only request she wanted from us missionaries was to read the scriptures for her. It amazes how this old woman, in her 90s is able to take care of herself and is able to work and make a living. She is so inspiring and all that she ever wanted us to do is for us to share the Word of God with her. That would fulfill her life! She doesn't need us to clean dishes, not the house, or feed her cat, nor cut up potatoes for her to sell, but to just sit down with her and read the plain and precious truths to remind her of her divine identity,as a daughter of God. That is all she ever wanted once a week. It was so cute.

Last Sat., we felt this prompting to call a potential investigator. We tried to call her again and again, but she never answered her phone until that morning. We found out that her husband had
to be emergency transported to Vietnam, because he had suffered a stroke. She was crying on the telephone and we couldn't hear her clearly. We asked if we could visit her before she goes to Vietnam to see her husband. She accepted the request. When we got to her house, we found her looking so frail and scared. We sat down and literally the whole lesson, she was begging for God to heal her husband. She was so desperate. She did not have enough money to go see her husband, let alone find enough money to save his life. She was so desperate to find enough food to feed her children.  My heart broke. I just didn't know what to do. We sat there and looked at her beautiful eyes, as
they were constantly filled with tears. We shared her a message of hope and prayed together. Right after, she told us, Sisters I feel that God is telling me that everything is OK, He will take care of my husband. Man, there was this sweet relieve that entered my heart! My companion and I were so overwhelmed of that experience! The Love of God is great!

This is all that I have for this week! I pray and hope you have a wonderful week!

With much Love and Gratitude,

Sister Sok

Attached is a funny picture of our mission Family. Me, sitting right next to my companion, Sister Smith (in the long white dress at the end of the row)


"All that my Heart Desires"

Sunday August 13, 2017 at 9:42PM

Hello,

Life in Cambodia has taught me much, every single day. I get to see new faces and work with different types of people, of different types of life backgrounds, and it is interesting to see how their upbringings have made them the person they are today. Traditions and religious backgrounds have such an influence on a person. It influences their choices in life and each facet on how they want to live their lives.

I got in contact with and taught this woman. She has been raised as a Buddhist for all of her life. Different forms/ branches of religious practices from Buddhist traditions have had such an influence in her perspective of respect and change. If that makes sense. Her past traditions has been instilled in her mind for so long that it becomes really difficult for her to have that change of heart to feel free. She had told us how afraid she is for change and that she is too old to change her life. It is so sad. However, what I have noticed here is that though the older generation of people ( back from the Khmer Rouge era), have a difficult time to change their beliefs, they still want their children to learn about the Gospel so their lives can be better than what their ancestors had gone through. It is quite interesting.

Sunday was so amazing. Cambodia has just dedicated a new stake. We now have 4 stakes in the country!

Also on Sunday, we planned to teach an investigator whose sister had just been baptized. We had planned to meet her at the church, but got a phone call saying that they are trying their best to get ready for the lesson and church but could not get everything ready on time. We offered to come to their house and help them prepare. Oh man, it was the cutest. Just the 2 sisters living together. Makes me think of Mary and Martha. Well anyway, we helped them build a rat trap and cleaned up a bit before we taught the younger sister a lesson. I felt really happy helping them getting ready. It was just really neat.

Also, we recently visited family who used to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of the children in the family got separated and only one of the children is a member and she had moved away. We tried to find their house, but found out that they have moved to another area. The neighbor directed us to their new house. Turns out, the wife ( who is a member of the church) in the family had recently passed away due to an illness. We were invited in and the father has just walked in (from work). He is so humble. He sat in with us and for the first time in a while, he prayed with us. He even invited his children to pray with us. We met up with his daughter the next day. I remember asking her a question and I remember how her response had touched my heart deeply. All that that young woman wanted was to feel of her mother's love ,again. That was it. That was all of her desire. oh my, I remember how the light of Christ starts to shine out as she prayed with us. She walked away, and by the corner of my eyes, we saw an old woman sitting at the edge of a wooden bed. She had told us how hopeless the family is ever since her mother of the family passed away. I remember the old woman telling us how hopeless they are. Man, we are going to give it our all to help this family. I love that the start of a conversion is absolutely through the brokenness of one's life, from a state of hopelessness to hope again. To ask the Lord : What is it that I can offer to mend the shattered past so I can start a new life?

“And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart …, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost"(3 Nephi 9: 19-20).

With much love,
Sister Sok

Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.

Sunday August 6, 2017 at 9:41PM

Hello Hello Hello,

It just gets better everyday. I love it here! My comp, Sister Smith is wonderful. So willing to improve, so humble and to change! That is our goal! This week has been so amazing, it was rough but the relief from the exhaustion makes the pain and the trying all worth it. Just miracles after miracles as we strive to consecrate ourselves to our potential and how other's lives are affected by the light of Christ. I love the members are our new area. Last P-Day was filled with a breath of love. My bike broke, because I kept riding it through mud. No wonder. The chains kept breaking down. My comp and I were just riding the struggle bus in trying to find a place to fix it. No one could fix bikes in the area. The miracle of it is that two of the member of the church, sacrificed so much of their day to help us find somewhere I could get it fixed. They are such angels. As hard as we tried, we could not find a place to fix it at a normal price range. We were a bit exhausted going back and forth and getting no result. We then went to this little alley way and prayed. Right after that, we still could not find anyone. I remember my comp and I praying in our heart to just let it be good enough (the bike) to make it through proselyting hours that night! Miraculously as we parked out bikes at the apartment right before going out to proselyte, I started noticing that my bike stopped making the weird noises and the things that seemed to be broken showed no signs. I was able to ride it just fine! There wasn't any that we really did to fix it physically! We were both so amazed. Man, the Good Lord has given us much.

I have seen many miracles and many lives have been changed because of Christ. I get to see their lives changed. I get to see how hopeless people were to how hopeful they are now, all because they know that they can receive help from God and change to become better. We meet with people whose lives are in the state of despair some due to loss of family. We were teaching a potential investigator, and one of the members in the lesson invited the woman in. I mean we have this elderly woman who does not have anyone in her life at all, her immediate family have all died. She is the lone survivor in the family! The member help straight up asked her to sit down with us. She listened intently. Then tears from her eyes started to pour down and she poured her heart to us, to God. Later that week, we sat down with her one night and told her of what she needed to hear about the Plan of Salvation.  As soon as we shared to her that she can meet with her family again  and that we can return back to God, there is this hope, Man! the hope that radiated from her that just made me want to to cry because I saw how happy she was. Her life is now filled with light. I know with my heart that there is actual power that comes from God to heal a person if we allow ourselves to choose righteously, to have hope and faith as anchor to the soul, to live for tomorrow to allow the light to shine forth from the cracks from the past, and God will take care of it. I am happy. I am happy to serve those around me.One of the neatest sights to see was when as were going to that area where most of our investigators and the woman live to prepare them and help them get to church, they were already getting ready to go. We owe our thanks to our members who helped our investigators be prepared. It was so beautiful to see her and her grand daughter locking up the house and putting on her flower hat on,  getting ready to get on the moto to go to church!

On the way we were so amazed by this member ( the same who introduced us to the elderly woman) she is handicapped and on every Sunday, she would wheelchair herself to church), which is pretty far from where she lives. She would stop every now and then under the shades to rest, but would be so determined to keep going to make it to church on time. It was a miracle for her on that day, because she was so sick the night before, but she felt better that morning and was able to find enough strength to lift herself up onto the wheelchair and to go forth!

Funny Side Story: We have this grandpa who is a member of the church. He would hang out at the stake center all the time and would take baths in the baptismal font. I don't even know where he got the keys to get in! One day, he walked passed us and he was just sooo soaking wet. Haha he always shook our hands and demanded (nicely) that we have to print the pictures he asked us to take with him. It is a little weird!

But anyways, that is all that I have for now!

With much love and gratitude,

Sister Sok

Oh man I am falling in love with Cambodia!

Sunday July 30, 2017 at 10:22PM

Hi oh my hi!

Things are going really well here!

Cambodia is so great! I love it so much. The people here are wonderful! Each day in this country makes me think of how blessed I am. Each night that I'd kneel down to pray, I can see the growth of love the people we teach have for the Lord. It is so great! My comp and I have been going in houses where we rarely don't even have enough room to sit together on the floor. We went to this cute grandma house,Mak Yey. Oh man,she's the cutest. She has a cat who has the same name as my last name. So it gets a little confusing in the lessons to differentiate if she is yelling at me or the cat.  The room is as small as my closet back home. Yet,I am blessed to see the smile she has every time as she sees us entering her refuge!

The ward and its members are very helpful in assisting us in missionary work. The BM member/group are wonderful. They are full of light and are so eager to assist us in whitewashing the area. One of the return missionaries in the area took us to the bishop's house and we introduced ourselves to the family. We plan and hope to have a family home evening with one of the BM's family members (who are promising potential investigators).

The first time we arrived in the new house, we decided to go through the CBR and teaching records that the previous missionaries prepare for us. We were both so amazed at how much preparation the previous missionaries had put in to help us get more acquainted with the members, the investigators,and less-actives. There were updated information that helped ease us in the work. So for that,we are very grateful! For the first hour of being at the house, we decided to start calling the BM members and the bishop to introduce ourselves and what we look forward to in the work in which we both needed help with and the plans we hope to achieve to help establish the church in Toul Tom Pong. The whitewashing is going great!

We have been shown to many members' houses and as well as the roads to potential investigators by wonderful ward members. Some of the challenges that we face, well at least for me is that, I am no longer in the khets areas, where people are always home and the time and places to meet the people we teach our very convenient. The city area is quite different in terms of their availability/schedules. The people here work, go to school, and try their very best to juggle their lives in a balance manner. Thus, their opportunity to attend church lessens. We have been trying our best to figure out ways to improve our teachings to better attend to their needs,in helping them attend church. We were so blessed with the Spirit inspiring us to perhaps have our investigators attend the sacrament room and sit in to feel the Spirit of the Lord there. We sat there for a few minutes silently listened and tuned in to the serene atmosphere. We sat there and had her close her eyes on the things she wanted to improve on and to repent. I felt the prompting to ask her: " Bong, how do you think you can prepare yourself to feel these sacred feelings more abundantly and what is keeping you back from receiving the baptismal ordinance? It was right then and there where she immediately and without us having to say anything, that she realized she needed to sacrifice to attend church. I believe and hope that her conversion was during the process in which she prays mightily to get some time off from her boss to attend church. Moments before the church,she had given us a call to say that her manager rejected her request. However, at her last remark with the phone call with us, she decided to ask again and to pray that her manager will soften his heart and he absolutely did.

The effort in planning to help our investigators attend church paid off. Moreover, for this young woman, she was able to see and treasure the blessings that come from the power of prayers in strive to sacrifice for the Lord.

With love and gratitude,
Sister Sok

Pictures of a traditional Khmer dance,for Pioneer Day in Toul Tom Pong !

Pictures of past area in Tahkmao!








Friday, July 28, 2017

"Sisters, Please tell me more"

Sunday July 23, 2017 at 8:37PM

Hello Hello

This week has touched me in a level which really brought me closer to my Savior. We met this wonderful woman in her early 30s and my companion and I are amazed at how God has been preparing her to meet Him. Her story is such an inspiration for me. Her conversion is a result of her sacrifice and utmost diligence in trying to give her life to the Lord, Jesus Christ. We first met the woman at church in a different branch in Tahkmao. We contacted her, but I believe she stopped using her phone. She worked in a place where she only makes about 5 dollars a day and she is not permitted to go to church or to meet with the missionaries. Before the job, she had to runaway from her husband because he was so abusive to her. She has  a little baby girl who is the heart of her life and is trying to make ends meet to take care of her. We have been praying that God would allow us to meet this woman again. This week, we got a call from her saying that" Sisters, I have given up my job, so I could seek to find my own refuge in what I believe to be most in important in my life, to follow God, I wanted so bad to go to church. She further told us that she could not take care of her child because she wouldn't have enough money. She had prayed to God to find someone who could help her find God. A few weeks later, she met a family, who is a total stranger to her and they had offered her a place to stay. It was such a miracle for her. She prayed again to be able to know which church to attend. She then decided to call us missionaries and asked if we could meet with her.

The moments of teaching this woman helped me draw closer to my Savior. Just listening to her sacrifice and devotion for God. She loves her family so much. We told her about the Plan of Salvation. It was then and there I got a further witness of the truthfulness of God's plan for my life and that woman's life. There was this sweet moment that I wish I could capture forever. The woman had longed to be with her mother who passed away years ago. She has had this burdening guilt that has been dragging her spiritual frame for years and to have known this sweet message, that she could see her mother again. That she could fix her relationship with her mother through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was such a tender experience to know that what God had prepared in our hearts answered the question she longed to be answered for years. I felt like this shadow that had followed her for her whole life up until now, had been swept by the sweet serene light of Christ.  I couldn't hold my tears, neither of us could. The next day, we met her she had asked us to teach her again. Our branch president and one of our recent converts had joined in. The spirit was so powerful in the lesson.

I am so grateful to have served in Tahkmao. The good Lord has given me much,  much much more than I could ever fathom. Brothers and Sisters, I know Christ lives. I know He does. I get to see his living divinity each and everyday of my life. Nothing is as sweet as knowing that I can live with my family forever. I know He lives and I am even much more closer to Him as I surrender and follow His will to love the people around me. I see that He lives through the beauty of this land, through the beauty of those I meet and the trees and rawness of everything around me. I know He lives, because I am able to give: my talents, my love, my all, and through the Grace of God; other's lives are changing.

Training and serving in this area has been a memory of a lifetime. I have absolutely learned and was able to improve much during this journey. I am evermore closer to my savior.It's crazy how time flies, almost a year in the mission now. I am being transferred to white wash this area called Tul Tompung with  my new companion,  Sister Smith.

With love and gratitude,
Sister Sok

Pumping water at this lady's house. She got really sick, so we had to help carry buckets of water.
Pioneer Day!



video

Oh my hello!

Sunday July 16, 2017 at 10:53PM

A few pics of Cambodia. My comp and I would stop to eat our meal and rest at this riverside in Tahkmao. It's so beautiful!