Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Did I Dial the Wrong Number?

 a chicken in a box in a tree

Bong Heem wouldn't meet with us yesterday morning since he was at a party down the street unfortunately, but when we met him earlier that week, we had a really good lesson. He kept asking us why he wasn't having a great experience when he prayed to ask if the Book of Mormon is true. I love it when people ask me this question, because it's a question I had to struggle with for a very long time. I was always amazed when people would tell me their experiences reading the Book of Mormon and then asking God if it is true and getting a feeling from their head to their toes that it is true, and then they knew without a doubt. Or somebody receiving an answer in a dream, or any number of ways of getting the answer. So I would always say to myself as soon as I read the Book of Mormon all the way through, then God will reward me with an answer like that. I was so ready to get that answer when I knelt down and prayed after reading it all the way through that when it didn't come, I felt like the remote to the TV was out of batteries, or like maybe I dialed the wrong number. I don't really know how to describe it, but I didn't get anything. Then what I did get was a thought that told me to look back through the course of reading the Book of Mormon. How did it make me feel? Did it improve my life? What ways was the Holy Ghost telling me that it was true as I read? 

I got to share that story with Bong Heem and then we shared Alma 32:41-43 ["But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life. And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you."] and that was when I knew that he understood and it all made sense to him. You can't just plant a seed and get results the next day. You can't just plant rice and have a full stomach when you wake up. There is a process and patience involved. 

This kind of helped me realize that the people we are led to by Heavenly Father to teach are those that are 1) prepared to receive the gospel and 2) are the people that we can teach most effectively with our own personal experiences. 

The road from the national road that leads to our house
a pic of the house from the front

The weather is just something to talk about now. I'm fine. In fact, if you want to get technical it's a hundred degrees but Cambodian 100 degrees is like a Texas 105. When Paul is taught that nothing would harm God's messengers I believe that included the weather. It's definitely bothersome, but they say the hotter your mission the hotter your wife will be... (maybe you shouldn't send that out)

Elder Hall

P.S. Oh yeah and today officially marks my one year mark in country!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Kean Svay: Week 4

Plan of Salvation

Becky: How has Joseph Smith and the story of the First Vision been received by your investigators or the people that you have baptized?

Wyatt: The First Vision is usually taken as a story here in Cambodia. There are hundreds of stories like this in Buddhism where people meet angels in the forest and the angel give them gifts and stuff. Nobody really believes it, and even when we tell them to believe it here, they don't quite understand what we mean when we say this actually happened. Haha. 

We have 4 or 5 investigators and none of them are really that great except for one: Bong Heem. This guy is looking for truth. One day Elder Bullough and I had nothing to do for 4 hours, so we set out on foot in a distant village near a wat called "hill" (a small distance south of the national road). I was in the process of telling Elder Bullough about how some people just look ready to receive the gospel, when I said, "like this guy," and we contacted him. We have since been back 4 times and brought several different members to help teach. He went to church yesterday and liked it. He is a very precocious Cambodian investigator in that he knew how to actually pray the second time we went back, he asks a ton of questions, and he has already read to 1 Nephi 12--very atypical of investigators without a future in the church. So I am very excited to see what sort of advances he can make in the near future. He has a baptismal date for the 8th of May. 

 Do the paws give it away?
[Editor's note: I have no idea what that is,
but YUCK!]
[Update: "Oh, by the way that was dog meat, 
if you actually didn't see the paws next to that meat.
Our branch presidents wife sells 'special meat'
out front of her house, and people know about it everywhere."]

We also spent the whole last two weeks practically begging for referrals from members, and it actually worked. We received 5 referrals from members last week, so we will see where this takes us. 

I'll end with this: We met two people who thought they were gods this week. I've contacted thousands of people on my mission and never even heard anything like this before. The first one was at a restaurant; this middle-aged, well-dressed woman called us over to her table to ask if we could speak Khmae. Then she said (my translation is supposed to point out the weird way she asked us this question) "did you two ride your auto vehicle to get here?'' We said no; we ride bikes. Then she just started speaking Pali, and when she was done with that, she said, "I am the daughter of Buddha. I own everything. I can say 'car' and a car will appear. If I want this road to be a river, I can make it a river." Then she pulled out a fake 100 dollar bill (they are everywhere since they use them to worship their ancestors, and it has a big stamp that says "COPY" on it--yes, money is accepted in their spirit world) and said, "See?" There were a ton of other weird things she told us, like when we said we teach about Jesus, she said no you don't, you're Buddhist. So then we just left her with a pamphlet and she biked away in her imaginary car. 

Our apartment

The other guy: I asked him, "How old is your oldest child?" and he said, "98", so I started laughing. He looked confused and told me he was 186 years old and was the 5th reincarnation of Buddha, so everyone around us started giving us hand signals to get away, so we left. 

That's all I got, have a good week!

This email is going to have to do for everyone in the family, I am going to play football.

Elder Hall