Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dancing, Pancakes, and Santa Claus

 Our Skype on Christmas Day

The ward Christmas party was super fun. Ever since they made the rule that you can't listen to Khmae music, I've just been craving it, so dancing (Khmae style) to music (Khmae style) was SUPER fun. They also made me dress up as Santa Claus and give out candy to kids, but I just got mobbed by every one (including adults) for candy. I'll send you a picture of the Santa Claus thing. I actually forgot my camera today, so I'll have to get other people's pictures of me. 

 From Elder Slavens' blog
During the ward Christmas party, we watched a movie in English (nobody understood). Then we danced for like an hour, ate food, danced more, and then I went home. Everyone was super jealous of my American dance style and cooking. Man, so much culture was introduced there! I taught them how Americans dance AND how we make pancakes. There were a bunch of less-actives there, too. 

 Wyatt's district (from the Ovesons' blog)

Then the next day, Vannak showed up to church, YES! So he will be getting interviewed on Friday, and then baptized on Sunday. (Ming Da showed up, too, but she is the sisters investigator now).  Vannak has come a long way. In the beginning, I could tell his aunt was making him do everything, and he hated it, and just wanted to leave. Then one day I think something clicked, and now he is always asking questions and actually wanting to find out more about what were are teaching.

From the Ovesons' blog

If you want to be better missionaries at home, just pray for missionary opportunities with real intent. Don't be scared that you'll actually get one. And then when that opportunity comes, pray for courage to take it. And if you don't want to take it, pray for desire to take it,and if you don't want to pray for desire to take it, pray for desire to pray for desire to take it! Haha. I'm just kidding, but the point is God will give you opportunities, you just gotta take them. Also, talking to the missionaries about how you could help out is a good way, too. All I can tell you is that when I get back, I am gonna go help the missionaries as much as I can, because I know the frustration of not having members to help me. 

I love you mommy!


Elder Hall

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Results vs Effort

This guy is 90 years old, pumps up bikes for a living,
and dresses like a straight baller.

 Yeah, president never got back to us about Mondulkiri, so we will probably have to wait a week or two. That means that I can email this week! 

So for Skype I'm thinking I'll get to the internet cafe at 8 AM on Saturday here which unless there are some tricks that I can't see, would be either 8 or 9 PM on Friday night for you [correction: 7pm Central]. 

I have a bunch of pictures from cutting rice, but I took a long video of the bamboo bridge and I guess it didn't turn on because I don't have a video of it. It's kind of a struggle, since I cant see my screen, but I'm sure I'll get to take a video of the bamboo bridge in the future. After all, I have at least another month here.

Bamboo Bridge

Cutting Rice

 So last week, I made a promise at the end of the week that instead of getting happy with results from my work I would be happy with whether I worked hard or not. This was difficult at the end of last week, though, since I had really good results from my work. However, I chose to instead look back on areas where I could have improved. This week, I worked a lot harder, but my results were terrible, because people have their agency. But since I made that promise to myself, I instead looked at how I felt about what I did, and I was happy. SO, I know that Heavenly Father would approve of my work, even though it didn't have the best of outcomes. Looking to the future, though, we will have to move back some baptismal dates, since they didn't show up to church. Vannak was at a marriage, Kum On was just absent, and Ming Da was referred to the sisters. Either way, this coming week will be better. You have to have bad days/weeks to know what a good day/week is like. Cambodia is funner than ever, and I am loving every second. Merry Christmas also ! The next time I email, Christmas will already be past. 

Elder Tatton

The church building in Kampong Cham

I love you Mom, and I can't wait to Skype my family!
Elder Hall

A couple of videos: 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas in Cambodia


Christmas sounds so nice in America! Honestly, as much as people don't like the bustle of Christmas because it distracts from the real meaning of Christmas, at least there IS bustle. And listening to Christmas songs and hymns just isn't the same without cold weather. It feels so wrong here. Haha. I just want to wear a Christmas sweater and sip hot chocolate by the fire. 

Wyatt and Elder Lambert on an exchange

Also we tried to think of a way we could vamp up the Christmas activity in Kampong Cham this year, so as a district we planned out this huge idea of having a big ol' bonfire right in the middle of the city where they have this vacant land, having some treats, and somebody gets up and sings, or relates the Christmas story, or does something--all the while we have missionaries contacting all the people. It was gonna be perfect. Then we found out who owns the land where we wanted to do it: Hun Neng, the Prime Minister's brother. Hahaha. So we abandoned those plans, because you have to take your case to the Provincial Hall, and they take maybe three or four weeks to get back to you, which would land us in January. So we decided on next year. Haha, but it led to a lot of discussions about more effective ways to get contacts, so there may be some events coming up!

Wyatt and his new companion, Elder Tatton

Next week the Kampong Cham missionaries are planning on going to Mondul Kiri for P-day, so that means no email from me next week. But that's all good because we have Skype on that Saturday!

Ming Da showed up to church this week and so did Vanna, so that means next week we have a baptism and the week after that as well! I'm super psyched. Bong Vuen got the priesthood yesterday too, and told me how excited he was for it. 

Wyatt, Elder Lambert, and Elder Long (who is having his last meal in the mission field)

So, in a country such as Cambodia, where the only people that celebrate Christmas are the Christians and the popular stores in the city (to attract white people), the extra stuff that comes with Christmas is absent: the snow, the present wrapping, the hot chocolate, the Christmas lights, the ugly sweaters, the Santa Clauses, the mistletoe. It's a little sad, because all of that stuff is really nice, and it reminds me of the Christmas season, but it's not important. What's important is the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. And think, the members here in Cambodia get to start fresh, with nothing to distract them from the real meaning of Christmas. Christmas here is so pure. Teaching people about the birth of the Son of God isn't mingled with the worry of getting everyone's presents and staying within budget and arguing over who gets to put the chimney on the gingerbread house; its 100% focused on the fact that "God so loved the world that he gave his only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) 

Serving in a rice field
 Srov, or unprocessed rice

So just try to keep that in your thoughts. Those who look to Jesus this Christmas season will feel the true spirit of Christmas. So get out there, do some service for someone (it can be something small), and don't forget why we have this holiday (I'm mainly looking at you Claire and Sofie, make sure mom and dad have the best Christmas ever, ok?)


Elder Hall