Monday, June 29, 2015

Having the Time of My Life!

This week was probably...nah, for sure the best week I have had on my mission so far. So Elder Jones and I are whitewashing, which means we pretty much just get put in an area with some old records and nobody to show us around, which means a lot of contacting, and a lot of trying to find things to do. So that's what we did. We contacted a ton. We got a name from an old missionary that was in our area and tried to find her. Along the way we found 6 people that wanted to learn with us. Then, when we finally found her, we found out she has like 8 kids that all want to learn, too. They can't all get to church on Sunday, so our plan is to find a lumok (like a big trailer with benches hooked up to a moto) driver near their house and try to teach him, too. But anyways, by the end of this week--after receiving referrals and contacting a ton--we ended up with 23 new investigators. 

Also even though there are no rice fields or jungle, it's still really nice to be away from motos honking 24-7 and loud noises, and random people welding everywhere (this is a real thing), and I can bike just five minutes and be out in the middle of dirt roads, cows and other kinds of fields (I actually don't know what they're for). Also, some of it feels like mountain biking (in the video of me biking it shows that) with really narrow paths through fields. So that combined with lots of work to be done gets me out of bed every morning. I love it here. I love the people, I love the sunsets (that I can now appreciate), I love the biking, and I love the food. 

I don't have much else to say, but I will probably give an update on the families next week. 

Timing is key. I prayed and prayed and prayed in Chaktomuk for people to want to hear the message of Jesus Christ, but didn't have a lot of success. But I know getting sent here to an area where people are so ready to accept the gospel is an answer to that prayer, because who knows, they could end up having family back in the city, or will move to the city and have a positive influence on their neighbors there. 

Also, July 4th is coming up, and one thing that Cambodia has taught me, is that although Cambodia is a super great country, there is truly no better country on earth that the good old USofA. No matter what party you belong to, no matter what you believe in, no matter what race you are, if you live in America and you get to partake in the freedom that the US offers, then this Saturday, you should remember those who helped this country become what it is. I know that God has blessed that land, and everyone who lives on it is blessed to be there. God bless the USA!

Thanks for your support! Cambodia is amazing, and I'm having the time of my life!

Elder Hall

Monday, June 22, 2015

Getting Acquainted with Siam Reap

Some architecture that I took a picture of on the way to the internet cafe 
(because I didn't have enough pictures for this week).

[Elder Hall didn't have time to send an email the distribution list this week--last week his distribution list got the email and I didn't :) So this post includes some excerpts from his email to me]

Thank you momma!

I love you too! Thank you for the spiritual thought too, because it helped to inspire me to apply that principle, because even though I can't visit the temple often, the next best thing is sincere prayer. So the more often I pray the better I will be able to recognize Satan's influence. Which ties in with D&C 10:5. So thank you. 

[This was my spiritual thought:  At the temple yesterday, I finished about 45 min before Dad did, so I sat in a chair and read Moses 1. Moses is visited by God and sees His creations and His glory. After all Moses' instruction, God leaves, and Moses is apparently unconscious/asleep for several hours. Almost immediately after he comes to, Satan appears and tries to get Moses to worship him. Moses says, "Um. I was just in the presence of God. I couldn't even look at Him without being transfigured, but you I can see with natural eyes. Where is your glory that I should worship you?" Then in Mos. 1:15 he says, "Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve." Because Moses has so recently beheld God's glory (and it still lingers with him), he is better able to discern good from evil. I applied this to myself and realized that frequent, regular temple attendance works the same way. When I go to the temple, I feel empowered by God to go back into the world and obey, serve, love, etc. If I return often enough, I will always be better equipped to see Satan and his temptations for who he is/what they are....And I believe that scripture study, prayer, family home evening, etc can work the same way.]

At a bus stop in Kampong Thom

This week a change of scene was really nice. Also having six elders in the same house is nice, because I feel more motivated to work hard due to every male's internal competitive side. There has been a lot of learning this last month. Ways to turn to the Savior: I have found that just thinking of Him in quiet moments, like when I'm showering, or when I go to bed helps. I am learning to shift my testimony to be firmly founded on Him. 

Birthday package...yes received. I have yet to celebrate, because I don't really ever have time haha, so if I find some time, I will put the candles in something and send you a picture.

On my birthday I rode my crappy new bike all over the city of Siam Reap getting oriented and finding members and less actives houses!  (Siam Reap in the city is not Cambodia. It's California. I'm not kidding, so many white people.) Then we ate at a Mexican restaurant for my birthday--I kind of just pretended like it was for my birthday--and went and taught a few people and had English class! Super fun day. 

Getting spiritually AND financially wealthier out here in Cambodia.
[That must be his birthday money he withdrew from his account.]

I have not seen Angkor Wat yet. It's not too far away from our house, though, so one of these p-days I will go and take plenty of pictures. Actually, before I leave Siam Reap I'll probably go there a few times. Don't worry. 

Elder Jones is my new companion, he leaves to go back home in a month and a half, so he knows Khmae reaallly well. He's also really into movies and I found out he likes Vampire Weekend yesterday. We had a tender moment when I found out he hasn't heard their new album "Modern Vampires of the City," because he was on his mission. I told him how good it was, and he started crying on my shoulder, but i told him it would be ok. Nah I'm just kidding--he didn't start crying, but I was super mind blown that he hadn't heard any of those songs (Diane Young, Step, Hannah Hunt, Bicycle, Everlasting Arms...). He's super easy to get along with, knows how to cook, and wants to go to USC and get a film degree (which sounds super awesome), so I made him promise that he would let me write one line in a movie when he makes it big. 

The sky

So Siam Reap has pretty much two cities. There is the city on the west side of the river which is California--hotels, white people, Mexican restaurants, american super markets and tuk tuks galore. The city on the east side along the national road is more like real Cambodia. I live in a very Americanized area of Siam Reap about a mile or two north of where the national road crosses the river; however, my proselyting area is on the east side of the river and south of the national road. My apartment is very close to the church, so that is nice. Also, if you are wondering if I will be in the jungle or riding through huge rice fields at any point here in Siam Reap, the answer is probably no. Which is a little bit of a bummer for me, too, but I could probably get to stuff like that if I rode for like 30 minutes away from the city, so maybe one of these days Elder Jones and I will go check it out.  

That's pretty much all I got for today. Life is good, Cambodia is better, being a missionary is the best. 

Yeah, sorry about the lack of pictures. I thought I lost my camera for a few days, but it turns out it was in my backpack the whole time. Haha!


Elder Hall

Monday, June 15, 2015

Siam Reap


This week was super fun! Not a lot of work got done, but it was all good experiences. 

[Duck picture for Sofie]

On Monday the Pres called me and told me and Elder Kim to go to Pursat [4 hours northwest of Phnom Penh] for a couple days so that he could attend a meeting that he didn't have the opportunity to attend since he transferred early. So I was super excited to be able to leave the city for a couple days! Here are a few pictures of Pursat:

Elder Kim got on the bus at one of the stops after going 
to the bathroom and had this bag in his hand. I didn't know 
what it was and then I looked away and he started eating them, 
and it sounded like chips, then I looked back and it was 
straight crickets. I started laughing for some reason, because I 
thought it was funny that he was eating crickets, 
then I had some. They were good.

Unplanted rice fields between the Phnom Penh and Pursat

A monk hospital. I guess they gotta get healed somewhere.

Just your typical statue of a guy getting eaten by birds (found Inside a wat)

Just your regular statue of a bain/bull mixture guy

It was all super cool except for the fact that Elder Gardiner ate a poorly cooked burger the day before, so he was throwing up all night, and the next day was super not good. SOOO like you can see in the pictures, there were very few things to do while Elder Gardiner was sleeping all day. One of those few things was wheeling myself around in a wheelchair... for about four hours. 

At one point I decided to write what the caption would be of me in a wheelchair at various points throughout the day. I'll just give you one: "I sit pondering in a wheelchair, peering out of the dark house towards the bright outside, dripping in unrelenting sweat, as I quietly manage to whisper, "I will never complain of heat again."

This is the missionaries house in pursat, but its also the church building 
since there are only 14 members there since it just opened 8 months ago. 
The progress there is super good. Also that's the wheelchair

(Also just a side note, some other guy in this internet cafe is watching the Studio C PK shootout skit (haha), so I guess its viral enough to reach an audience that doesn't even understand English.)

So yeah, for those two days, not a lot got done. I wrote a much needed budget, studied a bunch of words, practiced writing picture captions, stared at a huge map of Cambodia while sitting in a wheelchair for an hour, silently stared out of a window in a wheelchair for two hours, etc...

Then for the rest of the week, we got back to our regular missionary grind, with a little help from the slightly cooled weather. The cloud cover from the approaching rainy season is nice. So not too much to complain about this week. Just regular stuff until Sunday.

Me and elder Bostrom on an exchange on Friday

Then another call...

Guys. I'm getting transferred to Siam Reap. This Friday. Super psyched to go there and continue the work....Yet another plot twist. 
So since Elder Kim is sick, he's going home on Friday to go get surgery, and then after the surgery coming back to finish his mission. So at the latest I should see him in probably 2 months. Hopefully, I'll be able to be companions with him again since what little time I spent with him was super fun!

Love you all! I will be emailing next week from Siam Reap, I cant wait!

Elder Hall

This is literally what every white tourist dresses like in Cambodia. 
It's the sunglasses and the fact that he's alone that straight creep me out.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Obedience Brings Blessings

This week stuck out. This week stuck out like two white missionaries in the middle of Cambodia. 

So to start, on Monday or Tuesday night Elder Gardiner and I looked over our past week and realized how much more we could have done. It wasn't really something we had ever talked about before (it was always talking about how much we did rather than how much more we could have done). But as soon as we realized that we were not exhausting our strengths like we realized we should everyday, we made a resolve with each other to begin following every single rule as straight as a line (that's really straight).

We didn't even have to wait until the next morning for us to see the blessings rolling in. We got a call from one of our members that said one of her nephews wants to learn about our church! And that we should teach him that morning. So we taught him that morning and he turned out to be a super cool guy, and even though he doesn't have a lot of free time, he does on Sunday which is super cool. (He went to church yesterday, too!) So we see a baptism in the future for him. Then either the next day or a couple days later of adhering exactly to the rules, we went to go teach one of our less actives. Even though she wasn't there, we met her son and her daughter in law. They were really interested in hearing what we had to say, and said they wanted us to come back, too. So that was super cool. This obedience high rolled right into our interview with Om Sok on Thursday, who was preparing for baptism.

Om Suk's baptism

Then we got a call....And what a call it was. Let me remind you that transfers are not for another two weeks. Elder Gardiner answered the phone and it was someone. Actually it was probably the APs. But anyways, he got transfered to Pursat to replace an elder that was sick that needed to be closer to the hospital in the city.

Wyatt and Elder Kim [pronounced "Keem"]

So now here we are. Me and Elder Kim. In Chaktomuk.

In front of the entrance to their apartment?

I don't really have much else to say, since he doesn't email for that long. So thank you all and make sure you are exactly obedient to get blessings!


Elder Hall

[Wyatt didn't send captions this week, so I'm doing my best to guess.]

Zone Conference (from the Oveson's blog)


View from their apartment

Looking up at their apartment

Being motodoped

Being fed well :)

Local pitch

Not much to see, but the girl's voice is so cute, and I love hearing Wyatt's voice and laugh in the background!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Effective Scripture Study

Weekly english class

I'll start out with the thing that made me laugh a little this week. So for our Sunday personal study--which we do after lunch, which is after church (terrible combination)--I was studying the chapter in Preach My Gospel called "Effective Study"....I ended up falling asleep and drooling all over the first page (didn't even pass the first page, rookie move) where it says in really big font "How can I have a more effective study?" Haha. Isn't it ironic? (Dontcha think?) 

If you ever wondered what little kids would do without 
video games and school, here it is.

This week I got to go on an exchange with the Zone Leaders since Elder Gardiner is a district leader! So it was really thrilling to have to lead out in my area. Showing him all the crazy things you can find in Chaktomuk, like cave like places that are man made (haha) and super crazy traffic. But anyways, I had to plan all the lessons, start them all, and set them all up since Elder Christensen didn't know them. Actually, there was one appointment that I had him set up, because I have no idea what this one lady is saying when she talks; she has the thickest accent. It was really fun, but it was hard to have stuff for us to do all day (since usually we are out finding less actives and contacting all day), so it was really nice when the Chaktomuk roads showed his bike some of that familiar treachery that I am well used to and popped his tire. We got to sit back a little while his tire was getting fixed...and I didn't have to admit to him that we were about to show up 30 minutes early to a recent convert's house. 

This guy's name is Seyha, and he is one of the few youth in my ward. 
He's a baller, and he's older than me too-- haha. He's 19.

Aside from that, we didn't have a super interesting week. I guess this will provide me a little extra motivation to go find new investigators, because that's when things get fun! 

Surprisingly, there is no lack of super cars and luxury cars here.

So enjoy these pictures for now, and next week I will have some new investigators to report on. 

Elder Hall

This kid is always chillin outside our house at night and always tells me to dope [give him a ride on the back of his bike] him to the end of the street and back every night. And he's always drinking stuff too, haha. I think in one hand is tea and the other is a weird Cambodian drink that's pretty good