Sunday October 9, 2016 at 9:49PM
Dear Friends and Families,
Wow, I have no idea where to start! Cambodia Cambodia Cambodia (also called Campuchea).
I am so grateful to return to the land of my forefathers and to serve the people in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Though, I was born in the country, serving a mission is quite a life changing and new experience for me. I came to the U.S with my mother when I was 10 years old and has been immunized to the American culture. When I lived in Cambodia, everything was a given to me. My aunt worked for the government and I lived with her for most of my childhood. My life as a young child was enclosed in a naive and affluent environment, meaning I lived in a gated mansion and have never really experienced the poverty life of Cambodia. My bubble has been popped even just a few days here in the country. I was distraught at the poverty, yet have seen how humble the people here are. My eyes have been opened to new sights I never thought I would see. I am learning more about the Khmer people each and everyday.
My companion is a native Khmer. She is so kind and one of the most selfless person I've met. Her name is Sister Song! I know Sister Sok and Sister Song. What a match! I am currently serving in Phnom Pehn, my 12 weeks training will take place in the city.
There are things I am trying to adjust to and my companion has been helping me with that. Cambodia is a wild, yet majestic place. A land of lush green and humble citizens. To be honest I am not sure how much more my American lifestyle bubble can be popped. I am experiencing things that are way out of my comfort zone. I've learned to adapt to strange things. There are ants everywhere, so it's almost normal to just eat them if they do get in your food. Rice is our daily bread and water. We have rice soup, normal rice, fried rice, rice with veggies, rice with double veggies, rice with eggs, rice for breakfast, rice for snacks, rice for lunch, rice for dinner, and rice for dessert (haha not exactly) but you get the idea. The bike rides and the heavy backpack behind my back, the flood, the rains, the thunders+ lightnings, and the dey hou (dust) from the crazy traffic. I remember on our first day, we had to ride our bikes to church. I had lost sight of my companion. Then I saw that she was on the other side of the streets. I had no idea how I could even possibly cross it with jammed pack lawless traffic. But Brothers and Sisters, I don't know how I haven't gotten hit by a car yet, but I know that God does protect his children. There have been times where I got really close to being hit by at least 5 cars per day. But somehow I never got a scratch! Cambodia rains a lot, so bike through flooded areas of at least 3 feet deep. (don't worry I write separate emails to my parents..shhh) Oh man! The traffic is like a can of sardines, except the fish is alive and they are all moving in different directions. They are motorcycles packed with five people, barely hanging onto the seats and buses with more people it can even handle, so they just grab onto anything to get a ride to places. I went to the market (phsa) today, it's a street market. The whole place is flooded. It was funny, because I wasn't quite sure what's in my shoes, but I felt it wiggling!
It's amazing what love can do. The pure and whole-hearted love for God and His people. The Cambodian people are receptive to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of the recipients are poor, yet the most humble of all. There is this lady, she drove all the way from one of the countrysides to the city, Phnom Penh for church (to watch General Conference) in Khmer language. She has such a strong spirit. She had told me how God in her life is sooo real. She suffered with the aftermaths of her surgery. Her health and family was deteriorating. However, she explained how living her life in accordance to God has lifted all of the burdens off her bearings. How trusting in the Lord and praying to God has healed her physical and emotional pain, with patience that is. My companion has taught her every lesson and she is now ready to be baptized when she gets back to Kampong Cham province. We are all so excited for her. It's been such an eye-opening experience to teach the Khmer people. It's so different. Just the way they receive the light of Christ and His Words. I will tell you more in the next letter!
My companion and I had a discussion last night about the purpose of a missionary. Lately, I have been inclined to focus on the baptisms of the investigators. This reminded me of Elder Bednar's talk entitled "The Character of Christ". The talk focuses on the natural fall of man, our innate tendencies to turn inward and how Christ would turn the opposite. It's not about my work or how good of a missionary I present myself to others. It's His work, God's strength to leverage me through this journey. My job really is to Love God and the Khmer people. With love, great things will foster. I am a convert to the church 1 year and half a go. I have prayed to God. I know that my knowledge is very limited, but I know that through the very Atonement of Jesus Christ, my weakness becomes His strengths. I am giving my all for this mission, to serve my native Khmer. I have much to learn, but who's to say I can't grow. I am willing to sacrifice all that I am for the living water and to be the instrument of God in pouring the sacred water on the lives of others. All that I have I will give, because I am God's child. I love God and I am a representative of Jesus Christ. I strive to be obedient and serve Christ with my utmost ability and God's strength.
I want to help the Khmer people to understand their identity. As Peter testifies of the living Christ, He says "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." -Mathew 16:16. I absolutely treasure the words in this verse. I love words so much! The Khmer people need to understand that they are God's children. Knowing one's identity is crucial in Heavenly Father's plan, because the Khmer people will come to know that they do matter in God's eyes while in the midst of tribulations in this world.
Your support has motivated me even more to ignite my purpose, why am I here. I can't thank you enough.
With much gratitude and love,