Week 10: Phnom Penh Training Arc
I'M IN CAMBODIA! So much has happened this past week. A few days before we left the MTC for Cambodia we got our area and trainer assignments. My first area that I have been assigned to is Phnom Penh North Zone which is the heart of the city, more specifically Tuol Kok. Before we left we had to say goodbye to all of our amazing missionary friends that left before us and it was really sad seeing them all go, but I know they are all going to bless so many lives. Shoutout to Elder Stark, Sister Ainsworth, and all the Japanese elders and sisters. On Thursday morning we left the MTC and flew to Seattle, then Korea, then finally made it to Cambodia. The Korean airport was so dope and we got some amazing food there, but it did not compare to the food that Sister Neang (wife of the mission president) made for us. We got to Cambodia late on Friday night so we spent the night at the mission home and then in the morning we had breakfast and our mission orientation. Then we went to the dedicatory site where President Hinckley dedicated Cambodia for the preaching of the gospel which was super cool.
Before we all left to our areas, Sister Neang made us the best food ever for lunch. Best food I have had in months. When we finished lunch my trainer, Elder Schofield, picked me up. He is so awesome and I'm excited to learn so much from him over these next few weeks. He is also officially the tallest man in Cambodia right now at 6'9". I can't escape the height. Before we left the mission home I had to say bye to the best district in the world which was so sad, but I know they are all killing it right now in their areas. District 22H and 21L for life.
When we left the mission home we went straight to two lessons which was insane, but awesome. It is really hard remembering names right now because they are names I have never heard in my life so I am constantly asking the members and our teaching friends what their names are. One woman that we are teaching, Julie (her American name) is scheduled to get baptized in the next couple of weeks which is so exciting. Her husband is already a member, but they just recently got married after meeting on Facebook. It is really interesting because, Ernie, her husband speaks English and Cantonese, but she only speaks Khmer so their communication is limited. I can tell how much they both love the Gospel though. During our lesson Ernie shared his testimony about how important the Book of Mormon and prophets are to him and he started crying. The Spirit in the room was so strong and I started tearing up because of how strong his testimony is. I am so excited for Julie to get baptized! After our lesson we went to a park in the city and just went and contacted some people. I tried to talk to a man on a bench, but he just got up and walked away. A little disappointing, but it's okay! Afterwards we had to rush to the church for a lesson with another sister and a couple of her friends. I'm going to be honest, I have never hated biking more in my life, especially in this heat. The seat on my bike is also too high so my butt has been bruised for a couple of days, but it's okay. During our lesson though I was dripping sweat and one of the girls looked over at me and just laughed. Anyway, the two friends weren't really there for the lesson, but we think one of them could end up taking lessons because she seemed really interested.
On Sunday we went to church and we're actually in two wards, so I got asked to share my testimony twice which was so awesome. I don't know much, but I said what I know and what I know is true and that's what matters. All the youth just got back from FSY (For the Strength of Youth conference) so they all shared their testimonies about their experiences and it was really touching to see how much these kids really love the Gospel and want to learn more about it. A lot of them know English really well too so it helps when I can't speak or understand them in Khmer they help me out a little bit. Elder Schofield and I didn't get to do much yesterday since we had two sacrament meetings and it also started pouring rain and the road was closed for a little bit after church. We did teach a lesson to two young men who have been coming to church a lot recently and asked them if they wanted to be baptized and they said yes! They haven't decided on a date yet, but I think we're planning on next month. Once the road opened we biked through the rain to go do some contacting at the mall near our apartment and got a couple of people's information and also invited them to English class.
Wow, that was only two days of my mission so far, so I'll do my best to compact my email next week, hahaha. I will say this past couple of days has not been easy, but I am so excited to be here and to learn as much as I can these next few weeks from Elder Schofield and the people of Cambodia. I know God is watching over each and every one of us and is in every detail of our lives. He loves us and will never lead us down the wrong path as long as we follow Him in faith.
Sorry if I don't respond to emails or messages as much now. It's a lot harder now that I'm in the field. I love you all so much and hope everyone is doing well! You are all in my prayers!