Cambodia Ta Khmau

Week 66: Parable of the Lost Ming

Dec 11, 2023

This past week has been filled with lots of emotions. Especially this past couple of days.

This past week in Ta Khmau was probably one of the best weeks of my mission. Elder Nielsen and I were really in a groove and started finding a lot of new people to teach. I loved the area. I loved my comp. I loved the members. I loved it all. But there is no growth in the comfort zone.

On Saturday afternoon I got a call from the APs (Assistants to the President) that I needed to go home and pack all my stuff and be ready to leave to a new area that night. I didn't have any time to go say goodbye to a lot of the members that I love and that have become my family, but I was still blessed to see some of them at English class before I left. There were lots of tears, but I know I will see all of them again one day.

I am now in an area called Kambol. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere. It takes us about 40 minutes or more to get to the next closest church and into the city. We are trying to start a branch out here and it definitely has lots of potential. It has been a lot of change, really fast. We have sacrament meeting downstairs in our house in a tiny little room. Yesterday was the third time they have had sacrament ever. My companion, Elder Johnson, and I are the group leaders and conduct sacrament and set everything up. Over twenty people have come each week though which is so awesome.

Before sacrament meeting started, this Ming (lady) called us trying to figure out where our house was because she was lost in our little complex. We tried to explain to her over the phone, but she couldn't find us. So as sacrament meeting was starting, we asked everyone to wait a little bit and Elder Johnson and I ran out of the house with no shoes on, hopped on our bikes, found the Ming and got her to church. It made us think of the parable of the lost sheep. We left the 99 (or 20) to find the 1. Just like Jesus does for us. He will always go to find the 1.

As I was sitting in sacrament yesterday, I was still kind of just asking myself, "Why am I here?" But when the sacrament was passed, when a member got up and shared his testimony, when we sang the hymn "I Stand All Amazed," I was filled with the Spirit and love. I felt so much gratitude for being able to have sacrament out here for these members and people who want to grow closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

I still don't know why I am here and I don't know why God has put me here, but I know it is all for a reason. As much as I love Ta Khmau and the people there, and as heartbreaking as it was to leave, I know God will help me to grow my love for the people here in Kambol.

A few months ago, my good friend Brother Christensen sent me a quote from C.S. Lewis that really touched me. This week during personal study I was studying about change and came across a talk called, "Profess Through Change" by Elder Ashton. In this talk he shared the same quote Brother Christensen shared with me.

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace."

When hard and unexpected change comes, remember "He is building a palace."

Elder Mendenhall

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Ta Khmau

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