Week 13: Have a Chocolate Evening
Officially 3 MONTHS on the mission today! Let's GOOOOO! The days are long, but the weeks are flying by. I can't believe it's already December and Christmas is coming up because it feels nothing like Christmas when the sun is beating down on me and I'm sweating through my clothes every single day. It's been so cool seeing all the Christmas decorations around town though and it definitely helps me get in the holiday spirit.
In context to the title of my email, we were teaching English class at the University the other day and when we were leaving one of the girls told us to "have a chocolate evening" and it was the funniest thing ever. I will be using that phrase from now on.
Things in Cambodia are going great though! I had my first exchange with Elder Winegar this week and it was so fun. He's been out for over a year now so it was nice getting a different perspective on things I struggle with. I've really been focusing on being more grateful for the things I have in my life right now as I think about Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up and it has made every day so much better when I start having doubts or start feeling discouraged. Expressing my gratitude for so many things during my prayers has allowed me to recognize all the amazing things I do have in my life right now and helps me to recognize more blessings throughout my week. Right now we have five of our investigators on date and they're all doing so awesome. A few of them are working on not drinking coffee and tea right now, but they are all doing great and making great progress to prepare for baptism. I'm so proud of all of them. One of our investigators, Sopol, we found out smokes a pack a day almost. We were a little worried about it, but when we taught him about the commandments he was so willing to give it up in order to be baptized. He had no problem giving it up and is just excited to be baptized. I seriously was so amazed that he didn't even give it a second thought. It just shows how amazing this gospel is and how much joy it can bring to people.
I have really been struggling to memorize words and just improving on the language every day and it's been a little discouraging feeling like I'm not making any progress. I was writing words in a little notebook at first, but I didn't feel like it was working so I started a word list on my phone, but that wasn't helping much either. I started praying for something, anything, to help me start improving more so I can keep progressing and do anything I can to speak more to people. On Monday night we went over to one of the bishopric counselor's houses for family home evening. His name is Jarom Jones, and he is also half Cambodian and half American and he served his mission in Cambodia a few years ago. When we were leaving, he told me he had something to give me and he came out with this little pocket-sized notebook. He told me that writing down words is what helped him memorize words quicker and told me to try using it more to memorize words more. I didn't realize it immediately, but that was the answer to my prayers. I have been able to memorize so many more words this week and at such a quicker pace. I don't know why it didn't work the first time, but I'm so thankful that it's working for me now. I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn, but I'm so grateful for the progress I have made these past few weeks through God. I saw a shirt earlier this week that said, "a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." At times I get discouraged because I expect a lot more of myself and for some reason think I should be a fluent Khmer speaker a month in country. I forget I basically still have the entire two years left to learn and grow. To start this journey of a thousand miles I just have to take one step. Take every day one step at a time. Whatever you may be going through in life or whatever you are struggling with, remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to take it one step at a time. I am so grateful for this gospel and the love I receive from Heavenly Father and all of you. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here in Cambodia and spread that love to all the people. I love you all! Have a chocolate evening :)
Also, if you can't see my Google photos for some reason let me know and I can send you the link through messenger or just add your email to it!
All the photos: