Hello Families and Friends!
Many things have happened this week and they have been amazing and a blessing in my life. The areas we are serving in are teaching us much about patience, but I am learning day by day. There are many young adults here and Takhmau is populated with people of all age.
My companion is doing great! My companion and I have experienced many tender mercies and the Love of God in our lives. One of the most memorable experiences I have felt was during one of the most exhausting days ( I got lost quite a few times) we had together, but the miracle that happened at the end of the day has absolutely made us feel our Savior’s love. At the end of the day, we did English contacting by the riverside and handed out crazy amount flyers. Afterwords, I had this prompting to speak with a grandma by the side of the road, I got to speak with her and found out a little bit about her life. She was so cute, but all in all it wasn’t the time for her to accept the Gospel, yet. I wasn’t disappointed; I just knew that I did what I was inspired to do. We had also planned to teach 2 of our investigators, but both of them did not answer their phones. (It rained pretty hard that day, and we were both filled dirt and mud.) My companion and I decided to right away get off our bikes and prayed for Heavenly Father’s guidance, to fervently ask if there’s someone out there that He has placed in our path and who is prepared to receive the Gospel, please help us see him/her as we cross paths. We then got back on our bikes and rode to who we had planned for a backup. The rode was completely dark and it’s about 7:30 (which is the time most Khmer are home) so there is no one on the streets. Out of nowhere, to right of us, there was this woman carrying suitcases and plastic bags of food, and miscellaneous . It looked like she was lost and that she is a tourist. I had this immediate prompting to get off my bike and speak with her. We asked her where she is from and where she was heading. She was so friendly to us. Later in the conversation, we found that she has been looking for a church to attend and a God who loves her. She was looking for an English school that teaches for free lessons as well.
We also found out that she has endured much pain and suffering in her life and is striving to make a living. We found out she is an orphan and is in need of someone’s love and comfort. We were like, this is such a miracle. I almost fainted, because there was no way in heck.... in this dark rugged way that a woman with a bag full of her belongings is walking alone by the side of the streets seeking God's love for her. (We then met up with her a week a later and she is so amazing! We sat in with her in the Sacrament room and had her feel of God’s love for her. She told us was 39 years old. We knelt down and prayed together at the end of the lesson and We just felt so at peace in the room).
On our way home, my companion and I had this craving for ice-cream, but we knew that in no way Takhmau would have an ice cream shop and I don’t know the new area very well. I just prayed in mind, and out of nowhere there is an ice-cream shop, to the right of us. When we got home that night, we threw off our bags and immediately knelt down to thank our Father in Heaven. I felt such a strong bond of God’s spirit within us both in that prayer.
I have come to learn that the things I am experiencing in my life are OF GOD’S hands. I have come to learn that communication with God can change a person’s life. I have come to learn of obeying the simple things even through the rugged circumstances. To obey and listen in every moment even if the time and place is dark. My heart is touched when God has allowed my companion and I to have crossed that woman’s path, just knowing that she was at a time in her life where she needed God most. To know it has been 39 years for her, 39 years for her to open her heart to God and to talk to Him for the very 1st time in her life. I am deeply touched. God truly is good.
This is the email, I planned to send out a couple weeks ago, but ran out of time to finish.
Things are going pretty good here. I hope you are all doing well back home in America and wherever you are at this time in place. Things are pretty good here.
We got our transfers call last week and a new group of missionaries just came in. We got the opportunity to meet our new companion. Our mission President had us ride in the Tuk and Tuk AND had us meet them at the airport. They were all so happy and their sparks for what about to embark on were so present at the time. Haha, they got to experience the missionary life that day, because that very same day, we were told to ride in the car and have our new companions ride their new bikes ( it was also raining) back to the mission office. My heart dropped, because they have no idea how to ride their bikes in like a sardine packed full motorcycles, cars, tuks tuks, cycles, tractors, and trucks. They literally just got out of a plane from America and now, they are going to get hit!!! BUT they made it safe! We are in Ta Khmau and it is pretty great. It is one of the hottest seasons in Cambodia right now. My companion and I are trying to get to know the new area better. I am kinda white washing the area right now, so it is quite an experience trying to get to people’s houses and looking at maps and such which takes so much patience out of me and bike riding. We recently got a referral of a member’s house who lives on this small Island. So maybe we could get to ride a boat there. It is really fun out here, though.
Today is the first preparation day for my companion. We got to take them to experience the Cambodian street market. They handled it pretty well. There are so many things you could experience at the Khmer market. From the lingering smell of fermented fish paste to fresh veggies to pigs squealing to people yelling around and trying to bargain prices to fish hopping out of the tray right into my skirt and trying to pick it up (the fish hopped at me twice). Haha I literally spent a few minutes chasing the fish around and trying to catch it while my companion stood in all amaze. It was quite an experience. Then in front of another market, there was this kid, with his pet monkey. My companion asked if she could get near it, it grabbed onto her skirt and started cuddling her leg, but then climbed up to scratch her a little bit. It was so crazy. We also went on this scavenger hunt to find a rat trap and something to block rats coming into our house. That was exhausting. We also street contacted of the Gospel and of English class at the market. Street contacting at the market is one of the most interesting experiences. We then, finally went to this river side and ate lunch there, while standing all amaze at the slowly collapsing bridge.
Thus far in the mission, I have been through many experiences that absolutely took me out of my comfort zone and I am not just talking about the monkey and the fish, but many experiences that helped me see Cambodia from different lenses. To really see the diversity in the lives of many and how some have survived through it. Every moment and every experience in this country makes me realize how much of an impact you can really make in someone’s life. People here are a part of my blood and it is just much more personal. To see the diverse faces of everyone, even just in the face of the beggars that we see. To feel of what is that substance that I should impart to them. To realize that they truly need hope in their lives. I have come to learn we as disciples, we are asking people to change their lives, it takes so much patience and it is difficult here but all is good.
With Much Love and Gratitude,
Below are a few pics of English class, my ex-comp when went up to the mountains, my companion when I picked at her up.