Cambodia North Zone Phnom Penh

Week 17: New Year, Same God

Jan 01, 2023

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!! I hope everyone had an amazing week and enjoyed celebrating with friends and family!

I couldn't have asked for a better way to start the year! Three of our friends got baptized on Sunday and I got to baptize one of them! It was such a special moment for me. Originally the plan was for Elder Schofield to baptize all of them because we let them choose who does it, I was just excited and happy that they were all getting baptized in the first place. Elder Schofield came up to me right before the baptism and was like get changed, Panha wants you to baptize him! Apparently while they were all getting ready in the bathroom Panha asked what I was doing during the baptism and Elder Schofield just told him that I was just going to be sitting and watching them. Then Panha was like, "Oh, I wanted Elder Mendenhall baptize me." And that's when Elder Schofield walked out and told me to get dressed. I have never been so happy and nervous at the same time. I was so happy that Panha wanted me to baptize him, but I was nervous because it was my first time and I had to try and remember the baptismal prayer in Khmer in less than 10 minutes. Panha knows really good English, so when I was reading the baptismal prayer he was like, "You can say it in English if it will be easier" but I told him I wanted to do it in Khmer for him. I messed up a little bit at the beginning of the prayer, but the gift of tongues really worked through me in that moment to perform the baptism. Seeing all three of our friends, Panha, Rothana, and Bong Sophal finally get baptized was so exciting and such a blessing. Even though I was able to help them grow their testimonies of the gospel in the short time I have been in Cambodia, they have strengthened my testimony more than they will ever know. They are true examples of being Christ-like. They have helped me to see God's hand in my life and that He is in every detail of our lives. 

I knew that Heavenly Father was watching right over me this day because of them and through an experience I had during sacrament meeting. "I Stand All Amazed" is my favorite hymn and I haven't heard it played once since I have been in Cambodia, but during sacrament meeting on Sunday they played it and as the ward sang together the Spirit touched me and I knew my Heavenly Father was watching over me.

Our Heavenly Father knows each and every one of us individually and loves all of us. When we truly have righteous desires, He will recognize that and will bless us in so many different ways. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are always with us and trying to help us return to Them again one day. They will never turn Their backs on us and when we truly seek for God's hand in our lives we will find it in every little detail. 

"And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men." (Moroni 10:19)

I love you all,

Elder Mendenhall 

📸 All the photos:

I got excited and took too many pictures this week sorry!

A sampling: