This week has been a good week of progress and the start of changes in missionary work. I'm really excited and I love the Branches I am in. I am still in Battambang and transfers just happened. My companion, Sister Luke ( who was ill with narcolepsy) has to be transferred back to the city where she can be close to the mission home. Sister Sung is my companion again. I was her companion during training. My health is good even though there are weird things happening to my body. However, I am still able to function well.
The lifestyle here is so different from what I am used to in America. Just the way people speak, markets, the humidity, culture of the church here, our schedules and timing, the over all culture. Usually, people here take showers 3 times a day and they eat dinner really late. So little Sophia's body is like a twig with skinny arms, legs, and face, but I am starting to see a little pouch of rice pack. I look a little like an alien, to be frank. For exercise, I love to run. We'd wake up at 5:30 and go on our daily runs at the church and we get to see the sunrise in the morning. 5:50 is the prime time for sunrise, so that's always been a blessing to see. Lunch is a challenge sometimes. Usually since some of our areas are far out, we'd just pack lunch and eat it at the riverside on the grass with the member's help and hah also with the cows and horses by the water. It is so beautifully green. My ex-companion has narcolepsy, so we usually go back home to have her rest and study language. She finally got her medicines! So now it is just a matter to see if they work. She's a trooper. I have learned a lot on being patient and this young woman has taught me many lessons. She's is such a chill companion and her nature helps me so much when I turn into the uptight, work, work, work sister Sok.
There are other strange but hilarious stuff that goes on here, as well. Like the other day, when riding our bikes. We passed this half-naked guy on his Moto (mo-ped) with his whole family and his wife trying to arm her kids from falling off the moto, while picking lice off her husband's hair. All happening when this man is trying to ride his Moto. Man, I wonder where they were going!
So this week: I've seen so many progress of working together with members! Miracles have happened and we were so blessed to witness them. Missionaries in this mission only get to teach people of their same gender. There is this family investigating the church referred from a member. So we got to teach the female in the family. They are such a blessing to my life. Their mother's name is Oum Vannie. She is around her 70s and a very faithful seeker of Christ. I don't have much time, but I will tell you of a miracle that she shared with us. Oum Vannie could not walk straight due to an illness she had. It is a struggle for her to get up and walk off a normal distant for an average person. She has really hard times riding her bike. So, one morning at church, we were waiting for her presence. Sacrament meeting started but we didn't see her. All of the certain, we heard the door being opened and there she was rushing to sit by us. we could just see the sweat pouring out of her pores down her entire face. I could feel the exhaust and heat lingering around her frame. I was like Oum, what happened?! She said, sister "I biked to church". She later on told us: Sister I believe I truly believe! God gave me strength to get here. Her house is pretty far from the church and there are hills on the way. I mean, we are talking about an old woman who could barely walk, let alone ride her bike!
She talked about how she had to stop every now and then to regain her strength. In every fiber of her limbs and spirit she prayed to the Lord to provide her the strength to get to church! She had to cross this famous Battambang bridge, but she could not have any strength left to carry her through. She described" I humbly prayed to God with all of my total dependence and all of the certain, a burst of energy overcame my feeble body and forged me to go onward. I got off my bike and walked it over the bridge! Description of what happened does not do it justice. You would have to be in the lesson to see the change of heart and spirit of resilience, of the Lord she brought INTO her heart.
Her husband and her whole family have changed. The elders had to teach her husband. Her husband went from lying half conscious on his bed from over dose of alcohol and smoking to a complete 180 changed man. One night, the elders called me saying that they would visit him for the last time and would prob drop him, but as soon as they saw him neatly and nicely dressed with buttoned up shirt and good pairs of pants on welcoming them inside, they were so surprised. Oum Vannie had been a light to him. He saw how his wife changed and started coming to church with her. I think one of our most powerful lessons was when he saw his wife cries, he left the lesson and went to the back of his house and started sobbing. The moment was nothing but divine silence for a bit. My companion and I truly cherish those moments. The video attached is of that day when the spirit was so strong. Her husband had joined in the lesson. Haha, we had to teach them both. I had a feeling to pull out my camera and recorded that moment. We always start out the lessons with singing "How Great Thou Art" to her. It is a tradition, they love it. Their relationships have grown and they are one of the cutest couples! Actually, I am going to just share the video!
I can honestly say that my life is being converted (even if it is refining process) to come closer and closer to Christ. I don't have a set game plane of the person I know I will be, but I know who I once was and how I have changed. I would only hope that my conversion would continue to grow. I have learned more about having charity this past transfer and I hope to continue to attain more of this very attribute. No matter what I do, this love of Christ is what I can offer. I have learned that one the hardest things I am experiencing thus far and will be is sacrificing and offering up my desires and the agency of self-centered desires on His altar and completely trying my best to understand and do God's will. To do what He asks of me even if it makes no sense. I have learned that you do it anyway despite the outcome or the circumstance you are in. I read a letter written by an inspiring missionary. You probably may have heard of him, His name is Ricchardi: "The mission experience is to do what you are told, when you are told, to go where you are asked, and know that the blessing comes from enduring what I ask of you. This is not about you; it is about opening your mouth at all times in all places. Doing my will without thought to the end result or consequence… this is what serving a mission is."
I am striving, striving my utmost best of what I have to serve Him. I know I fall short, but I nevertheless I love Him and I know God loves me. I cherish it every single day, to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I hope that my letter has uplifted your day and have made you feel closer to Christ. I know that the Gospel is true and I am glad I got to know you!
On P-day, we got to ride what is called "Bamboo train and we got to go to this waterfalls place!" It was way beautiful.