Monday, May 23, 2016

Hello, Pochentong!

 [Since I didn't get any pictures of Wyatt's face this week, 
I decided to add a favorite blast from the past in honor of his sister's upcoming graduation.]

So my area goes about the length of the airport east to west and then from the airport up to the railroad and then one more of that same distance (airport to railroad) north. Its not a massive area geographically, but there are SO MANY PEOPLE. There are people in literally every square foot of this area. I think there is like maybe a couple acres of land in our north west corner that don't have any people, but every thing else is packed. Which means that contacting is super interesting here. You never run out of people to talk to. 

Elder Bostrom (sorry I spelled it wrong last week) is from Seattle. We went on an exchange in my training actually. He is two groups ahead of me and finishes his mission in 3 months. He is really into anime shows, he loves the Old Testament, and is always down to contact with me. So we will definitely get a lot done this transfer. The dynamic of our companionship hasn't really come out yet. It's only been a few days. 

Pochentong is the urban sprawl side of the city--the exact opposite of Kian Svay. Where there is land out here, you can count on it having a house in less than 2 years--so much just unorganized, chaotic growth. The biggest problem I can see is that there is no way to describe [the location of] places. The church is not near any recognizable landmarks, and nobody knows what I'm talking about when I say "Street 58P." 

 I found this on Wyatt's former companion's (Elder Slavens) 
blog along with a request that Wyatt name his first child Jim.

The main industry here is just factories. Everything else is just houses. Small houses (literally 30 square feet) to Big houses (10000 sq feet). Any size, shape, or style you name, this area's got it. Now I am actually closer to the mission home than I was in Kian Svay.

Pochentong is a ward in the North Stake, so I am in the corresponding North Zone. The district has 3 companionships.The church is established like a well-oiled machine here compared to my previous areas. We actually had somebody teaching elders quorum. The youth sucked in our investigator that we found a couple days ago. There are 3 or 4 people in our ward that are in the stake high council. This is only the second ward I have served in, but really the first since Chatomuk had so few people at church.

 A colleague of Jared's traveled to Cambodia and offered to 
drop off a package from us--it got there a lot faster 
than the normal 3-4 weeks!

I'm so sorry, but I didn't have any pictures from this week. I will try to see if Elder Bullough can send some from the couple days I had left in Kian Svay.

Thank you for your prayers. I know they help, and I would ask you to keep praying for me to find people.

Elder Hall

Monday, May 16, 2016

From Kian Svay to Pochentong

Elder Bullough and Wyatt

Wyatt and others

Bong somrong got baptized this week. It rained a few times and got nice and cool. Ming Sim came to church and loved it for the second time in a row. I'm getting transferred to Pochentong with Elder Bostrum on wednesday (got the call last night). Happy Birthday, Mom!

There is your quick run down. Since I'm leaving the area I will do a small tribute to Kian Svay: I was only here for 3 months, but those three months were the hottest months of the year. The city, spreading into the province-like area, was definitely something of note. There are nice streets that run along the river where just about every other house has a car, and every other house has nothing. There are tons of palm trees and mango trees everywhere, and the other half of my area has a huge beer factory in it (which employs like half the people in this area). I wish elder Bullough and Elder Reeves well in their continued service for this area. It was a good time Kian Svay. 

I love you mom! Happy Birthday again! 

Elder Hall

[I asked Wyatt's opinion on an article I read that listed 10 things that can ruin your mission.]

Here they are:

  1. Having unrealistic expectations.
  2. Worrying about things you can't control.
  3. Thinking and speaking in absolutes, such as "I have to" or "I need to."
  4. Focusing on the negative rather than the positive.
  5. Failing to see the big picture.
  6. Going overboard with good things, such as being a bit of a perfectionist.
  7. Failing to follow priesthood leadership principles, which involves charity, patience, and long-suffering as opposed to forced manipulation.
  8. Letting anger and fear get out of control.
  9. Not being quick to forgive.
  10. Not being sufficiently self-disciplined.

Wyatt's response: "All ten of those things are very early on things that everyone learns. I don't know of anyone that can make it more than three months without figuring out all of those things."

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mother's Day Skype

We got to Skype with Wyatt Sunday night. Here are some highlights from our conversation:

Sunday's baptism: Elder Bullough, Bong Somrong, Bong Thon, Wyatt 
(The building they rent for church is visible in the background.)

Bong Somrong got baptized Sunday. In addition, the two women that Wyatt and his companion have been teaching attended the baptism and have their own baptism date schedule for late May. Bong Heem has read more of the Book of Mormon, but he's very busy. Wyatt said that in Cambodia, if you are invited to a wedding, you have to pay a $5 entrance fee (for the average person, that's about 2 days' wages). Bong Heem has been invited to several weddings, and is working about 18 hours a day to make ends meet.

Bong Somrong is on the left and his
 brother Bong Thon is on the right

A few other cultural insights:
  • If someone hates you, they won't look at you (they can't stand to look at your face). Wyatt and his companion stopped at a house and talked to the wife, but the husband wouldn't look at them. He finally started yelling at them to get out of his house. 
  • Most people work in factories.
  • There is no A/C anywhere (where Wyatt goes). Fortunately, his house has a/c, so he gets to sleep with it on.
  • Cambodians dip mango slices in fish sauce for a snack. It has become Wyatt's favorite snack.
  • Malaria is only in the mountains; no missionaries are sent there.

Cambodians laugh at Wyatt's wrinkly forehead (or any white person's wrinkly forehead for that matter). At church he was joking with a sister about her 40th birthday. She responded, "At least I don't have a wrinkly forehead like you."

He has been through about 20 pairs of shoes. He just found a place that sells white shirts that fit for $5. And he keeps finding abandoned missionary clothing (that fits!) when he transfers to a new place.

The missionaries in Cambodia don't get dinner appointments like the missionaries do in the states, but he's invited in to eat about once a week. It's rude to decline the invitation. Wyatt said if you do the polite American thing and decline the invitation once, the Cambodians will think, "What? Are you implying there's something wrong with my food?!"

His language skills have developed to the point where he is comfortable and rarely misses words or meanings. He even dreams in Khmae all the time.

Until Dec...

Monday, May 2, 2016

New Investigators

Investigators are progressing well. There are two new ones, Ming Sim and Om Ya. These are about as close to being able to teach a family as possible. They have a very similar situation to Om Sok and Om Sen from my first area. They are both widows and have lots of things to worry about but nothing to do all day. They have read a ton of the Book of Mormon already and we hope that we can get them to church for the first time this week. 

We did not find a family outside of that, but please keep praying for that. I really want to teach a family. 

This week we had District Conference for East District. President Christensen is making it very clear that very soon he wants this district to become a stake. I got a companionship of sisters added into my district and they're moving one of the branches into Dei Udth. So I'm not really sure what's going to happen next, but I foresee lots of change. 

Wyatt helping with some roofing.

Sorry I didn't take pictures again. Haha. You'll have to get mad at me on skype. I'll see if Elder Bullough got some I can forward. 

I love you mom! Can't wait to talk to you next week! And you should see if Sammy's home from college yet, in case he can come over and skype too.

Elder Hall