Thursday, February 18, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Me and my Valentine

Man I'm so jealous of the Mexico trip. Meredith said I should be super jealous of you guys. I can't wait for you to take me to tons of places when I get back.

I feel like the more self control I exercise in getting up on time, following strictly to all the rules, and keeping my mind free of impure thoughts, the more I feel it becomes easier. Unfortunately, the reverse is true as well, and after only a couple hours of not exercising this muscle, it can atrophy. 

Vannak got the priesthood this week. That was super exciting. He also got called to be the Young Men's teacher, which means all three young men that are active in our branch now have a teacher and now have no excuse to skip third hour....That was the rose of my week. 

This is supposed to support thousands of people
Investigators aren't really progressing. The couple that were last week got caught up in the storm of Chinese New Year, so they didn't answer their phone at all this week. We hope to be able to meet a couple today. Also I'm really hoping to get a couple of new investigators this week as well. 

The unique aspect the Khmer saints have is that they all had to pay for their conversion up front. I had mine on lay away. I had it easy. I had millions of safeguards. These saints either are all in (losing business, friends, even and most especially family), or they reject it. I have a lot of respect for the members that are all in and for how much they have sacrificed. The rest of the church could learn how to sacrifice more. I remember the seminary meeting we had a few years ago and you said something like, "People just don't understand that seminary is something that we need to sacrifice to do." That meeting is in stark contrast to the members who bike 20 miles to church, or pay a whole day's wage every week to be able to just GET to church. I know that it's hard, and I just wish people could see that this sacrifice here is so graciously rewarded from Heaven. They never lack, and their minds are sharp. 

The group leader in Prey Cho (my head is on his shoulder)
who used to be a Buddhist monk,
and now he is one of the strongest members in Cambodia

As you head into spring, we head into the hot season. In just a few weeks it will start getting up to the monstrous heat that I started my mission in. Last year the peak of the hot season was something like 116 degrees for 4 or 5 days in a row, and that was the week after Khmer New Year (late april), so it should be a fun build up to that. They also say this year will be hotter. I'm prepared this time, though. I've got the right habits down, and I can speak Khmer, so I think it won't get to me like it did last year.

I expect next week to be telling you that I'm transferring out of this area. I've been here since September, and I can't really remember how I functioned in another area besides KC1. This area has the best Branch President, the members are wonderful, the landscape is shockingly beautiful, the river keeps the temperature low, and nights are quiet. I have a feeling that nobody will remember me here--they have to look at my name tag every time they meet me, but that's not what's important. I hope that what I did for them made this area better, and I can't wait to see down the road (maybe 20-30 years from now) what this area will become.

Go out there and give your local missionaries a referral. 

Elder Hall

P.S. I love you MOMMMMM! Happy Valentine's day. Unfortunately, the landlord's dog is my valentine this week, but I'm sure I'll be single next Valentines day (and home), so you can be my Valentine next year. 

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