Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Last Home Letter!

Hello everybody! Well, I hope that you all had a great week! Mine was amazing as usual! :) I don't really even know how to begin this letter to you all this week! Ha my heart is filled with so much emotion I feel like it's going to just pop right out of my chest! How can it already be time for me to come home? What is home? I don't think I have the same definition for home as I did before I came out here! Cambodia has been my home for the past two years of my life and now they tell me I get to go back home... I feel like I already am at home in a way! Ha but at the same time I have an overwhelming amount of joy because I get to go back to America this week and see my family that I love and miss so very much!! :) I really can't begin to describe to you all how much my mission means to me! My mission has blessed my life in so many ways I could not even begin to try to count them all! Before my mission I did not have much of a testimony at all of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. To be honest with you all, I kind of just believed because everyone else believed! When I came out on my mission however, I quickly realized that I was the only one that was heading to Cambodia! Not my mom or my dad or my church leaders, just me. I realized that I needed to figure out what I truly believed in! Because if all of this was just some made up story, I was not about to go share about it for two years halfway across the world! So I started reading and praying for the first time in my life! And by the first time in my life, I mean the first time actually reading and praying and having a burning desire to know the truthfulness of the message! Well, as you all know, towards the end of the Book of Mormon there is a promise that the prophet Moroni gives to all who read the book with an open heart and a contrite spirit, that the truthfulness of that book will be made known unto them. Well I remember I was in my first area when I finally finished the Book of Mormon all the way through. When I finished, I quietly went up to the top of my house up on the roof/balcony where it was nice and quiet. I knelt down to pray, but I remember as clear as day that before I could even get anything out of my mouth, the Spirit rang through my whole body and at that moment I received my first true witness that the Book of Mormon was true. I did not even have to use words to ask, God knew the desires of my heart and answered my prayer that morning. Instead of asking, I thanked my Heavenly Father for the answer that He had already so generously given to me. My very favorite thing about this Gospel is that it is a Gospel of free agency. Nobody is trying to force you into doing anything you don't want to do. All God is asking, all that we as members of the church are asking, and all that I have ever asked anyone to do out here as a missionary, is to take what we have taught them and pray about it and ask God if what we are teaching them is true. What an amazing promise Heavenly Father gives to all of His children! He wants us to know! He wants us to receive! And all that He asks is we cry out to Him with faith and His end of the promise is always fulfilled! I have seen it countless of times out here on my mission! 

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ's true church once again restored onto the earth! I know that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ and that through him, the power and the fullness of the gospel was restored. I know that we are led by a modern-day prophet, just like the prophets of old. I know that he receives revelation from on high to lead us safely back home to our Heavenly Father. I love the people of Cambodia. It's a good thing that you guys can't see me right now because I get way too emotional talking about the people of Cambodia! There is not a better group of people in this entire universe! These past two years, having the opportunity to be able to live amongst these people and work with them and talk with them and love them has been the greatest blessing in my life up to this point. How I was so lucky as to get to serve my mission in Cambodia I will never know, but what I do know is that the Cambodian people are some of God's most beloved children. The children that God knew could tough it out, that could handle all of the hard obstacles and trials that this life has. The toughest of the toughest were sent to live their earthly lives here in Cambodia! I love the people of Cambodia. I love my mission so much. In so many ways I do not want this experience to end! I feel like I have learned so much out here, and yet I feel like I am only beginning to scratch the surface! I want to thank all of you as well for all of the support that you all have given me throughout my mission! There have been days out here that were very hard, but one thing that I could always count on was feeling the love of those back at home. There were many days where I know it was because of the prayers of those back at home that I was able to keep on pushing forward! Thank you all so much for your love and support! 

I testify to you all that this Church is true. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is very real and can and should influence every aspect of our lives. The Plan of Salvation is obtainable. Families can be together for time and all eternity. Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God. The Book of Mormon is true scripture given to us from God. I want to share a scripture with you all that I love so much in 2 Nephi. It's towards the very end when he is testifying of the truthfulness of what he is writing upon the plates that God has commanded him to write on. He says, "And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good." I know that this is true! I know that God has given us these words out of love and compassion for each and every one of us and I know that if we read and study these words, just like Nephi said, it will only teach us to do good! The Book of Mormon is true and I know that with all of my heart and soul! It's a gift that Heavenly Father wants every single one of us to receive! I know that anyone that reads the Book of Mormon and asks God with a sincere heart if it is true scripture or not, will receive an answer that it truly is of God! I love this gospel with all of my heart and soul. Please, as members of this Church, continue to spread the good word. We have been given a gift beyond measure and it would be nothing short of robbery if we kept this great gift to ourselves. Have the courage to share. Have the courage to invite and always have the worthiness to testify! For those of you who are not members of this Church, I invite you learn more about our church. Visit our website at Talk to a member that you may know and have them help you set up a meeting with missionaries in your area so they can come and teach you more about what we believe in. I promise that if you do this with a sincere desire, that it will be one of the greatest blessings in your life! For those of you that are already members, but for some reason or another have fallen away from the church, come back. We miss you, and we love you so very much!

I have been trying to think of how I wanted to end this letter and how I could express to you all just how much I love my mission, and as I was contemplating about it a few days ago in my personal study I came across the testimony of Ammon and how he felt about his missionary service! As I was reading it, I felt that he and I had very similar outlooks on our missions! So to close I want to share his testimony with you all and I want you all to know that I echo all of his words! I summarized a little bit so if you want to see the full passage, it is in Alma 26. He says: 

12. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
28. And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world--not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.
30. And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.
31. Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.
35. Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
36. Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.
37. Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

It could not be put any better than that! I am forever grateful for the experiences that I have had out here and I will cherish them and the relationships that I have made and the knowledge that I have gained for time and all eternity! God bless the people of Cambodia! I love this Gospel, I love my mission, and I love the people of Cambodia! One last time...

Much love headed your way from the KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA!!!
Elder Steadman

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Another wonderful week in the Kingdom!

Hello everybody!!:) Another amazing week for me here in the Kingdom! I hope you all had a great week as well! I'll give you all a quick rundown of how this week went! So on Monday we had p-day and we spent the day just hitting up all of the markets and doing lots of shopping! It was actually quite an exhausting day! Then when we got back to our area that evening, we went to visit some members and that was super great!:) On Tuesday morning we had Zone Leader Meeting...I don't think that's what it's called, but the actual name won't come to my head haha… it was just a meeting with all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders in our mission! It was super good! I don't know if you guys know this or not, but a couple of weeks ago the church leaders had a World Wide Missionary Broadcast! Well, we had to wait for the broadcast to be available online before we could watch it so we were not able to watch it live with all of the other missionaries, but we were finally able to watch it this week! So we watched that in the meeting and it was like 2 hours long! It was super good! I really liked the focus that they put on relying on the Spirit and letting the Spirit testify that what you are teaching is true! That's one thing I love so much about this church! We are not trying to convince anyone of anything! We only state what we believe and then ask them to go to God and ask Him if our message is true or not! When you put things that simply, missionary work sounds so easy! Haha there is a little more that goes on in the background, but that's pretty much the overall gist! Anyway, I loved the broadcast! Then the Assistants gave a small message on repentance and the importance of teaching repentance clearly and understandably! Unfortunately, in this mission it's gotten to be a bad habit for some of us to just say repenting is feeling bad about something you did and then not doing it again. Well, that's technically correct, but there are other things that are part of the repentance process that are very important to understand! So they had us practice teaching repentance and I feel like it's really going to help with our vision this year, which is having 50% of our recent converts attend church! Right now we are at about 32%, but with the way President Christensen is running things I know we will be able to reach that goal by the end of the year! So overall the meeting was super good and Elder Bo and I got a ton out of it! We then had Zone Training with our zone that same Friday! Basically we just watched that Broadcast with them all and then Elder Bo did a great presentation on repentance as well! So my Tuesday and Friday this week were kind of like the same day, but they were super good so that's lucky I guess!:)

Then there was a super sad thing that happened this last Tuesday as well. One of the members in our branch had his house burn down. His neighbor’s gas tank exploded and ended up burning down around 20 houses! I was so sad when I first heard the news because I had just been to his house the week before and he was telling me how he had just finished it and that it had been something that he had been working on for 20 years. I was so crushed. I went to go see them and to my great surprise he greeted me with a warm smile and a hug! He told me that when it happened he grabbed his 3 grandkids and ran out of the house, but because the fire was so big and their house was made out of straight wood, he literally had no time to go back in and get anything else. Literally everything that they owned besides the clothes on their back was gone! And yet he was still smiling and just telling me how grateful he was that he and his grandchildren were able to make it out alive! His faith is so inspiring to me! I was also so happy to hear that members from all over Phnom Penh, not just our branch, but everywhere, were coming to visit him and give him some clothes or a little bit of money! It's so cool to see the members come together and show love for another member who is going through a hard time in their life! And the coolest was on Sunday he came to church! He did not have church clothes, but he and his wife came to church! When we went to meet him earlier in the week, he told us he was probably not going to be coming because he was going to be busy trying to figure out everything, but then on Sunday he walked in with a big smile and was warmly greeted by all the members!! So it was a very sad thing that happened to him, but he is looking at it as a blessing in disguise! He told me he feels lucky he gets to start new! Sometimes the faith of the members here is so humbling!

On Friday we met a new investigator who's name is Bong Touch. She is so awesome! We taught her the first lesson and at the end committed her to pray about what we had taught her and then she said yes and asked if we had an extra copy of "that Book of Mormon book" that she could keep and read for herself! That was a first for me on my mission! Ha we gave her a copy of the book and taught her how to read it! We have not met her again yet, but we will be meeting with her this week and I am super excited to see how she is progressing when me meet again! Church was also super good this week as well! I did not have the opportunity to fast last week so I fasted this week for the family whose house burned down and when I got to the church, I saw all of these people offering their help in all of these different ways and I felt like the prayer to my fast was literally getting answered right in front of my eyes! It was a pretty cool experience!:)

I love my mission so much! I feel so unbelievably blessed for the time that I have to be serving here in this wonderful country! I seriously believe that there is not another place in the world like this, with people like these people, and with experiences like these experiences! It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and I cannot think of a better thing I could be doing with my life right now then sharing the wonderful message of the gospel with these amazing people! I am the luckiest guy in the world to be able to live in the wonderful Kingdom of Cambodia! Don't miss me too much! I'm enjoying it way too much out here! I love you all so much and hope you have a very wonderful week over in America! Oh yeah, and happy Valentine’s to all of you love birds out there!!:) This Valentine’s Day I’m grateful for a family that loves me far more than I think I deserve! 

Love you all so much!! :)
Elder Steadman:)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Don't miss me too much...

Hello everybody!!:) Well, I am sorry in advance because I don't really have a whole lot of time this week to write all of you! Today a whole bunch of Elders are getting together at the South Stake Center and we are having a huge Cambodian BBQ and playing some backyard baseball! I am super pumped!!:) We are in a hurry to get over to that party today so I don't really have a whole lot of time to write a long email, but I will try to update you as best as I can with the time that I have!:)

This week was super good! Monday was super fun because it was Elder Riches’ birthday and so a whole bunch of Elders met all together to eat pizza and it was so delicious! :) But way expensive, so it's not a place that I can go to eat very often!! Ha Then on Tuesday we were not able to do any proselyting!:( Elder Bo's knee was hurting him super bad! About 6 months ago he got in an accident and hurt his knee and then this week it was starting to hurt him again, so we spent Tuesday at the doctors getting X-rays and all that fun jazz!! At the end of the day they just told him to take some meds and to wrap it up and tough it up! I don't think that he was too happy about their answer, but it is what it is I guess!! Good news is that the medicine they gave him is helping and he is feeling a lot better!! Then on Wednesday we had English class and that was...ok! Haha we did not have a whole bunch of people show up, but I tried to be super enthusiastic when I was teaching so I am hoping that everyone will invite their friends next week!!:)

On Thursday we had Zone Conference with President! Oh my gosh! I cannot even express to you all how good it was!! President focused on the importance of studies and making your study hour worthwhile and also good ways to go at studying! It was soooo amazing! The only thing that would have made it better was if I had heard it 2 years ago!! Ha but it was also really cool because a lot of it was focused on after the mission studies as well! I loved it so so so much! I have always studied my whole mission, but I wish I would have known all these different ways to study like we were taught this last week! But hey, better late than never right!? Then on Friday we went to our far away area and we had great success in meeting all of our investigators and members down there!! :) We also have another potential investigator down in that area as well so I will try to keep you guys posted on how that goes!:) Then on Saturday we went out all day and had like no success at all getting lessons! We were able to meet a lot of members, but they were just too busy to meet with us! In Cambodia they celebrate Chinese New Year and it started on the 7th. So on Saturday everybody was getting ready for that and all of their relatives were coming over to visit them! Or they were gone because they went to go visit their relatives instead! Ha on Sunday we did not have as many people at church as we usually do because there were a lot of people that went out to the provinces, but it was still a great Sunday! It was fast and testimony meeting and those are always fun to listen to here in Cambodia! It's not so much of a testimony meeting! It's more like stand up and tell everyone everything that is going bad in your life and who you are mad at and then at the end tell everyone how much you love God and that's about it! Hahaha it's kind of awesome! They are all just so open with each other here it's so cool! Just one big family!:) But yeah, I think for this week that's pretty much all that I’ve got for you all! Nothing too exciting happened to us this week, but it was still a great week! :) Especially the Zone Conference!! I love you all so much and I hope that you all have a very good week!!:) Don't miss me too much! I don't have enough time left to be missing you guys!!;);)

All my love,
Elder Steadman:)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

"Completely and totally humbled"

Hey guys!:) Well, it was another great week for me over here! This week felt like a really good week because we had a lot of success in our contacting efforts! That is super super rare for this area, so the Lord definitely blessed us this week!! I guess I will just give you all a quick run down of everything that happened! So on Monday we went and hit up all the markets and I just did a whole bunch of shopping to get some small things that I needed, so that was really fun!:) Then we went out to eat at Elder Bo's favorite fast food place and it was pretty good! He is so funny because he wants to like American food so much, but it's such a different taste for him that he just has not gotten used to yet! But every p-day he loves to go to this place and they make a hamburger there that he really loves and I think it makes him feel like he is really embracing the American culture every time we eat there!! Haha he is so awesome! So that was pretty much it for our p-day besides we went and visited a few members in the evening time and that was great too! 

Then on Tuesday we went to our far away area and, I'm not going to lie, it was a super hard day!! We were out all day trying to meet our members and investigators and all of them bailed on us! Literally every single one! It was super frustrating and I was not really enjoying my day, but then at around 7 (so like an hour before we were supposed to go inside) we were about ready to throw in the towel when we remembered an old less active couple that we were not able to meet in the past because they were never home. We decided that we might as well give it a try with them before we went home! So we hiked over to their house and sure enough, they were home! Just to give you guys an idea, they are both about 60 years old and they pick up garbage and recyclables for a living and resell it back to small companies for a very small amount of money! Their house is no bigger than 10 feet by 10 feet and is filled with recyclables that they have not given to the companies yet. When they saw us, their faces both lit up! They are both Chinese, but have lived most of their lives in Cambodia. Neither of them speak the language super clear, but they welcomed us in their small house and grabbed some cardboard for us to sit on and then we all sat down and then the older man told us how happy he was that we were able to make it today! Then he told us that Chinese New Year was coming up really soon and he would love it if we could come to his house to celebrate with them. He told us that he does not have a lot of money to make some nice food for us, but that he has some rice that we could all eat together, and then he said something that I will never forget for the rest of my life. He said, "I don't have a lot. I can't make you any nice food because I don't have any money. I don't have any friends. You two are my only friends, and God too! So I would love it if you could come and celebrate with us." My emotions overcame me at that moment. I don't know what it was, but I was completely and totally humbled by this man. He had absolutely nothing going for him in his life and yet he was smiling from ear to ear. For that moment I was jealous of him! He can see the big picture. He sees that this life is only a small trial of our faith and that in the next life he will be able to rest from all of these trials and hardships. I only hope that I can try to be half as good as this man and women in looking for the positive things in life! I know that he is one of God's most precious children! I could feel it when I was at their house! The Spirit was so strong! Anyway, that made my terrible Tuesday into one of the best days of my whole mission!

On Wednesday we were out contacting and met a man of another religion who has believed in Jesus for over 20 years already and he was super awesome! We asked him if we could come back and share a little bit about what we believed in! We were also able to teach a little bit about the Book of Mormon and he seemed intrigued that God could potentially have given us another testament of Jesus Christ's mortally ministry! So I will have to keep you updated on that as well!:) That night we had English class and that was pretty good too because Elder Bo and I are trying to get more people to our English class so we are doing a lot of contacting and inviting people to learn English with us and we already have a few new students, so that's pretty tight as well! Then on Thursday we had a good day and we were able to meet a lot of members, so that was really good! On Friday we went back to our far area, but this time we had a lot of success in going and meeting all of our members and investigators!:) Friday night we went again to the old couple’s house and we watched the Restoration video with them and they loved it so much! We listened to it in Chinese so I did not understand a single thing, but I have seen it so many times I already knew everything that it was saying!:) ha Then on Saturday we found two more people who told us that they were interested in learning with us about the gospel so we scheduled to meet with them this next week as well! Also, Saturday evening we went over to an investigator’s house to teach her and she lives right next to some members and so we invited them to come over and learn with us as well! When we got all together, the member started to tell us that she had a big problem in her life right now because the place that she was living was no longer going to be rented out to her so she was going to have to leave! She told us she was going to have to go and live with her mom, but she said the problem was that her mom lives on the land of another church and that that church has a rule that everybody that lives on their land has to go to their church and worship every Sunday. Kinda weird, I know ha, but anyway she said that if she goes there that she will have to go to that church! She asked us what she should do! Well, that was a super easy question for me because all I can do is invite her to ask God what to do! I am just a kid! I can't, nor do I have the right, to force her to choose one church or the other! I told her to pray to God and promised, “He will lead you and help you know what to do in order to follow Him with all of your heart!” Then we watched the restoration video and I think that it really hit home for her! She said the closing prayer and begged God to help her know what she should do to follow Him with all of her heart! Well, when Sunday morning came around, guess who showed up! :) She had a big grin on her face and I did not even need to ask her! I knew that she had received an answer to her prayers!:) Sometimes missionary work is so easy because we are really not doing any of the work at all! We are just small instruments in God's hands and we help people know the way that they can communicate with Him so that they can learn for themselves about what they need to do in their lives to follow Him! I love my calling:) It's a constant reminder that God truly is at the head of this great work! 

Oh, and guess who else showed up at church!? Bong Narit and his family!! For those of you who have been reading my emails from the beginning, you are going to have to jog your memories really hard to remember this family! I met them in my very first transfer here in Cambodia and fell in love with them and have kept in touch with them through letters throughout my entire mission as well! Well, they found out that I was leaving next month and asked the Elders in their area where I was serving, and then came and surprised me! How awesome is that?! Their little daughter is soooo big now! And they have a cute new baby boy!!:) I love them so much and it made my whole week to be able to see them walk into church! And to see that they are still strong and active in the church! They have such hard lives! The husband has to do different random jobs night and day just to be able to provide for his family! I have not met a more hard-working Cambodian during my entire mission! He is a huge example to me of what the role of a father entails! He does anything and everything to provide for his family! I took a picture with them that I will be sending to you all as well so you can see how they all are!:) Well, for me that's pretty much all that I’ve got for you this week! I love this work so much! It's so dang hard! But there is not any other work I would want to be doing in my life right now than this work! It is of God and I feel so blessed to be a part of it! I love you all and hope that you all have a great week!:)

All my love!
Elder Steadman:)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The gift you don't have to be a "VIP" to receive

Hello everybody!!:) I hope that you all had another great week!:) The numbers on the calendar just seem to be flying by! This week was a great week for my companion and I here in our area!! This week we had a lot of success in finding new people to teach! We found 3 new investigators and they are all super awesome!! We did a ton of contacting and our hard work most definitely paid off! I will give you a little run down of the week! So on Monday we went down to the city and hung out with all of the missionaries and we had lunch there and stuff and then we headed back to our area in the evening to finish out our day visiting a couple of members and investigators, so that was super good! On Tuesday we had district meeting, and then after that we went to our furthest away area and we spent the day over there! There is this one investigator there who just started learning with us and he accepted the invitation to be baptized! It was pretty cool because he told us that his wife had been trying to talk to him about getting baptized for like 5 years, but he had absolutely no interest! He said it wasn't until he started learning with us that he started to have a desire to be baptized! I know that really it has nothing to do with us, but it was the Holy Ghost that was working through us! That right there is the reason we always have to be worthy, so that others around us can always feel that presence and know that what we are telling them is true and that it is from God! So if you guys would keep him in your prayers… his name is Bong Narin!

On Wednesday we had English class and it was actually a pretty good turnout this week, which was kind of surprising! My comp and I stood outside the church with fliers for like and hour and a half and passed them out to people as they drove by hoping that some of them would come that night! Well, we passed out like 150 flyers and had 2 people show up that same day! That may seem like terrible odds to you all, but we were pretty excited about it! Thursday was a pretty regular day, but then in the evening we met a potential investigator and got to teach her for the first time! Her name is Ming Mom and she is so nice and so awesome! She was so engaged in the lesson the whole time and she asked lots of really good and inspiring questions as well! We taught her about prayer and she thought that that was the coolest thing ever! That we could talk to Heavenly Father whenever we wanted! I think sometimes we all take for granted just how amazing the gift of prayer is! Heavenly Father, who is the great creator, has given us a way to talk to him whenever we want! And not only that, but He also is always listening and promises us that in His time all of our prayers will be answered! Just like any loving parent! Prayer is pretty amazing guys:)

Then on Friday we went to our far away area again and met with anther potential investigator whose name is Om Sunlee and he is super awesome as well! I met him at the Stake Christmas party last year and got his number, but he has been super busy up until just this week. He was super excited to meet us and was very interested in our church! He has some relatives that live far away who are already members of our church so he knows a lot and already has a small testimony about Jesus Christ! Saturday was a weird day actually! Literally everyone was not at home! Like I'm not kidding… everyone that we went to go see that day was not at home! No one would answer their phones! It was super weird! It was my first day like that on my mission! But hey, I guess that's quite the blessing right!? Then on Sunday we went to church and it was super great and we had another great attendance week at church, which was super awesome! I think it really helps when church is in the morning! For some reason everyone wants to come to church in the morning! But hey, I'm not complaining!:) So yeah, for me that was pretty much it for my week!

In my personal study I have been reading a book called the Infinite Atonement! I am only 100 pages in or so, but it has really opened up my eyes to the extremities and the necessity and the absolute pure love that Jesus Christ has for each one of us! As I continue to read this book I continue to learn more and more about the significance of the atonement, but at the same time I feel like I am starting to realize more and more how little I know about the atonement! It's very interesting and I don't really know how to explain it, but the one thing that I always feel when I read this book is the overwhelming amount of love that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for us! It makes me shudder to think of where I would be at in my life without the atonement or without the knowledge of the atonement! The knowledge that you can be forgiven, the knowledge that no matter what you have been through in your life there is one person that knows exactly how you are feeling and knows just how to comfort you if you will but just let him in! Open up to him! I have not lived a very long time yet, but one thing I have always been able to count in is a God with arms wide open… anytime I am willing to embrace Him, He is always there for me. That's a blessing I will never be able to repay Him for! It's a blessing that He wants all of us to receive! Jesus did not just suffer for the sins of everyone in this church, He did not just suffer for the sins of everyone that believed on His name, He did not suffer for just the ones that lived in that era when He so mercifully gave up his life, but rather He atoned for everyone’s sins that ever lived on the face of this earth and that ever will live on this earth! This is not an exclusive gift that only people in the "VIP" section can receive! It is part of God’s plan to spread this message over the face of this whole earth! This is a message that everyone needs to hear! If there was no atonement, this whole life would be of no worth! As the scriptures share with us, if there was no atonement made for the sins of all man, then there would be no resurrection and man would become like unto Satan. How does that life sound to you? Does that sound like a life that you would want to live? I am so grateful for Christ, that he could see the big picture and come down and do the impossible! Only one being had the power from on high to complete the most noble of all callings, and that was our Savior Jesus Christ! I would invite you all this week to ponder and study about the Atonement of Jesus Christ! I promise that if you all do this, not only will you have a burning desire to share this wonderful message with others, but God will also put people in your path to share your testimony with about the wonderful message of the Atonement! This is a message God wants all of His children to hear and receive and we are his mouthpieces here on the earth! Please share it with the people around you! I promise the Spirit will testify that what you are saying is true! I know this because I have had the opportunity to do it for the last 2 years of my life! The Spirit has never let down His end of the promise! Strive to live worthy of the Holy Ghost so that He can be with you as you testify of truth! And if you’re not worthy then use the most wonderful gift that God has ever given to man and get worthy! The atonement is not just meant to be preached about! It's meant to be used!! Trust me! I have felt the healing power that comes from using the atonement many, many times in my life! I love you all so much! I want you all to know that I know this Church is true! Jesus Christ is at the head of it and we are lead by a modern day prophet! I know that he has been called of God for this specific time. I know that this is the only church with the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ! I know that the Book of Mormon is true! It's a book that is given to us from God as another testimony that this truly is Jesus Christ's church again restored onto the earth! I love my mission and I am so grateful I have been able serve here in Cambodia! I am certain there is not a better place in the world to give two years of service to my Savior! I have a burning love for the people here and will never be able to forget the amazing experiences and relationships that I have built out here! I love Cambodia so much!! Can't even explain it to you guys! It's just amazing!!! I love you guys! Hope you have a great week!!:)

Elder Steadman:)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Time is flying!

Hello my awesome family!!:) I hope all of you had a great week! This week was fun for me because there was a little bit of change! Change always just makes the time fly for some reason! But before I get to all that, I will fill you in on what happened in the week before the big change!:) So on Monday my comp and I spent most of the day going to this place called the Killing Fields. It was basically a concentration camp back during the war! It was interesting because the last time that I went to that place I was still in my training and I was going out there with a whole bunch of missionaries that were super old in the mission, but this week I was the old missionary! I don't feel like I am an old missionary, but all the younger missionaries constantly remind me of how old I am in the mission! Haha but it was way fun! You get a headset when you go so you can listen about the history of what happened there and when I went the first time almost 2 years ago I tried to listen in Khmer, but couldn't understand anything and had to go switch! This time I chose Khmer again and laughed thinking about myself 2 years ago trying to understand that same voice that was now so easy for me to understand!! Haha missions are crazy! Anyway, it was a cool experience, but also a very sad place where lots of terrible things happened. The Cambodian people have been through an incredibly hard past! As I was walking through the place, there was this really old man that was working there and I saw that he was missing his arm. When he sat down to rest I went over to talk to him and asked him about how he felt about all of this, because he was alive when all of this was actually happening. He told me he was about 13 or 14 during that time and he also told me the story of when he lost his arm. It was a grenade that was planted on the curb of a busy rode and he and his brother tried to ride the curb and the grenade exploded. He said his brother blocked almost everything but because he had his hand wrapped around his brother’s waist it was completely blown off. Unfortunately, his brother died in the accident as well. It was a very sad story and then he went on to tell me all of the different hardships that he had to go through during that time! It really made me gain a great love and concern for him! I told him in our religion we believe that we can be with families together forever and gave him a pamphlet to read. He politely accepted and after a few more minutes of casual conversation we headed our separate ways! I will remember that experience forever though!

On Tuesday and Wednesday we spent most of our time just visiting the members that Elder Riches wanted to say goodbye to! Then on Thursday I got my new companion! His name is Elder Bo! He is soooo awesome! I love him so much! We have only been together for less than a week, but he is so much fun! And I just love being able to speak Khmer all of the time!! He knows English pretty decently as well so we have fun speaking in both languages!:) This week while I was with him we already have found 3 new investigators, which is super awesome! He is quite old in the area too so he is a really great teacher and I am learning so much from him!! Sunday was super good as well because we had 75 people show up to church, which is more than I have ever had here!! So overall this week was a super great week and I hope that all of you guys have a great week this next week as well! Sorry this letter is not super long this week! Hopefully I will have something crazy to tell you all about next week! Love you all so very much!

Elder Steadman

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Duck embryos, exciting announcements, & the LAST transfer!!

Hello everybody!! Well, I hope that you all had a great week over in the good old USA!:) Over here in Cambodia it was a pretty regular week in the life of a missionary!!:) I'll just give you a quick rundown of everything that happened to us this week! Monday night we went to a family home evening and it was super fun! There is this return missionary in our ward and he invited us over to his house for dinner on Monday night, so we went over with the Sisters as well and ate! He had bought this food called ពងទាកូន…which translates into baby duck eggs. It's kind of hard to explain what exactly this is, but long story short, it's a duck embryo, meaning that it's only partially developed and then they boil the egg so that it dies and then they eat it! Haha so we ate those and they’re actually really good:) I know none of you will believe me when I say that, but I'm really not lying! Ha so family home evening was a success! Then on Tuesday I had to go to Mission Leadership Conference, which is just for all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders, and that was super good! It was from like 8 in the morning till 12 so it was pretty long, but we talked about a lot of great stuff and some things that we can do to help this mission grow even more!! Another cool thing that President announced was that there is going to be a worldwide missionary training video that will be broadcast to all of the missionaries throughout the entire world! So that's pretty tight! I think that the actual broadcast date is on the 20th, but we won't be watching it till the 26th! So when we watch it I will let you know how that went!:)

On Wednesday we got to go out and meet a lot of our investigators and members and that's always just the best!:) We had one member compliment us, saying that she just thinks it's so crazy how we can always be smiling despite the heat and biking and everything else! So that made us smile even bigger!:) ha Then later that evening we had English class and it was kind of sad because we did not have a ton of people show up, but it was also kind of cool because we had 4 non-members show up and usually our students are all our members so we were super excited to see some new faces and also invited all of them to tell their friends to come to our class next week as well! Then Thursday was a pretty regular day of missionary work! We went to this guy’s house named Pu Somnang and he is a midget and he is also really sick and can't walk by himself, but he loves to walk so we usually go to his house two times a week to help carry him around so he can practice walking! Basically we just hold him underneath his armpits to support him and then we go walking! It's a workout on my lower back because he is so short, but he is always so appreciative that it's definitely worth the sore back:) On Friday I had to teach Zone Training! So basically I just take everything that I learned in the Mission Leadership Conference meeting and teach it to the rest of my zone and also add things that I think our zone needs particular help on! It went really well! I am a solo zone leader and the meeting is 3 hours long so it's a lot of talking for me, but everyone helped participate and gave their input so it made things a lot more fun and exciting! Oh, we found out one amazing thing this week! I was in the middle of teaching at the Zone Training thing when the AP's called me! I knew that they knew that I was in the middle of teaching everyone so I figured that it must be important so I stepped out of the room to answer their call really fast and it turns out it was important! They told me that they had an exciting announcement for me to announce to the rest of my zone! They told me that starting March 1st, Vietnam will be considered their own mission!! When they told me, I just got the chills! I was so pumped! I went right back into the room to tell everyone and when I told them, they all started screaming and celebrating! It's a huge step for Vietnam to be their own mission and to have their own mission president! I think it's going to do amazing things for that country! :) So that was probably the most exciting news that I received this week! 

Saturday was just a regular day with visiting members and investigators, but then Sunday was Transfer calls!! Can you believe that it's already been a transfer!? SO CRAZY PEOPLE!! Where does the time go!? Anyway, so transfer calls came in! This transfer I was really hoping that Elder Riches and I could go one more together just because we really get along, but the problem is that he has already been in this area for a really long time! So I was nervous what this transfer call had in store for me! When the call came in, they told me that the ride for my companion and I had come to an end! I was sad, but then they told me that my new companion is Elder Bo! He is a Khmer elder and from what everyone has said about him, he is one of the coolest elders in the mission! I was super excited because I told myself that if I was not able to be with Elder Riches again, I wanted to be companions with a Khmer elder to finish out my mission! So I got what I wanted, plus he is an awesome Elder so I cannot wait! We will start being companions this upcoming Thursday! I feel like this is the best way that I could start the last transfer of my mission! I am excited for all of the fun times ahead these next 6 weeks! I love you all so much and am so thankful for all of the prayers that you send my way each day! They really are felt! I can't wait to talk to you all next week and tell you how everything is! Much love headed your way from the Kingdom!!

Elder Steadman:)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Year's... Cambodian style

Hello everybody!!:) It's 2016!!! Can you believe it!? It just does not seem real to me!! I hope that everyone had a great New Year’s, but did not party too hard!!:) For me this week was super good! On Tuesday I got to go on an exchange with one of the district leaders in my Zone! His name is Elder Allred and he is super cool! He is in the same group as Elder Lauritzen actually! So I got to go out to his area for a day and see how things are going for him! It was actually super interesting because I have been on an exchange with him before, but it was when he was just 2 weeks into the country! Now he is where I was at (as far as time in the mission) when I went on the exchange with him way back then! So crazy! It was cool to see how much he has grown in the language! It really is so crazy how fast we are able to learn this crazy language! It truly is God's work!! Then on Wednesday we just had a regular day and had English class as well, but there were not a whole lot of people that showed up this week. For the people that did show up, I tried to make it a fun time and invited them to invite their friends next week! Thursday was pretty good except for the fact that I came down with a stomach bug so we stayed in for the afternoon, but we had people that we had to see in the evening so we went out and visited with them and that was super good!:) Then we stayed up and watched the clock hit 2016! We heard fireworks so we went up to our roof and watched the fireworks go off that they were shooting over in Phnom Penh! It was pretty cool because they were super big and colorful! I sat and pondered about the last year of my life and just felt extremely grateful that I have had the amazing opportunity to come here and serve a mission and meet the wonderful people here in Cambodia! On Friday our ward had a New Year’s party so we went to that and they had some small games for the little kids to play and there was music and dancing and it was a blast!!:) There weren't a ton of members that showed up, but we had about 40 so it was a pretty decent turnout!:) Then on Saturday, all of the Priesthood brothers got together at 2:00 to clean the church! We cleaned it up and down spotless and then at the end the Branch President from the other area made dog meat for everyone!! I'm sorry for all you dog lovers, but it was delicious!!!:) By far the best that I have had on my mission so far!! If it makes you guys feel any better, the life for a dog here in Cambodia is nothing like America and I think some dogs would rather become a delicious meal then to stay living in Cambodia! It's a rough life for dogs here... no pun intended. ;) On Sunday we meet in the mornings now and we had 68 people at church this week, which was super awesome!! It seemed like everyone showed up to church and they showed up on time! I got to church like 15 minutes early and there were like 20 people already at church and I was like, “Am I on punkd??” Haha no one shows up on time to church here, but for some reason this morning everyone and their dog (get it? Because we ate dog yesterday....:)) showed up on time!! But hey, I'm not complaining! I was happy to see everyone there! But yeah, that's pretty much all of the news that I have for you all this week! Overall it was a really great week!

Oh, and we also had a breakthrough with one of our investigators! He was supposed to get baptized a couple of weeks ago, but he started drinking again and for the last week and a half he has not wanted to meet us and he even yelled at us with his friends to stop coming to see him. However, when we drove past his house the other day he called out to us and so we went over to talk to him and he just broke down and told us everything that was going on in his life and how he had no hope at all for his future because he messed up and he felt like he was not going to be able to get baptized anymore or be able to follow God. Well, it was amazing watching his face light up as we told him that he can follow God and that he can repent and still get baptized, and as we were telling him all this I could see a spark light in his eyes and he knew that what we were telling him was true! As we ended the lesson, we sang a hymn together and then he said the closing prayer and it was the most beautiful and most heartfelt prayer that I have ever heard anyone give since I have been out here on my mission! I was overcome with the Spirit and my eyes began to fill up with this water stuff... I think they call it tears? Ha but I recomposed myself and as he ended I thanked him for the wonderful prayer and then we planned to meet each other again so he could start on the repentance process and get back onto the path that he so desperately wants to be on! It was an amazing spiritual lesson that I don't think I will ever forget!! It's amazing to watch the Light of Christ light up in people as you share gospel truths! I know without a shadow of a doubt that his truly is God’s work! I know that He knows each one of us by name and cares and loves us more than we could ever even begin to imagine! I have done wrong so many times in my life that it would be impossible to even try to begin to count all of them, but thanks to a loving Heavenly Father, I know the way to be relieved of those faults and be forgiven of those sins! I know the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real and that through it we can be healed from our spiritual wounds and forgiven for our wrongdoings! There is only one way to have the heavy burden of sin and heartache lifted from off of your shoulders, and that is through our Lord and Savior! I know that He lives and I know that He cares about each and every one of us! He died for our sins and He rose again so that we too can rise again and live with our Heavenly Father in His Kingdom! I love you all so much and am so grateful for the love and support that you have given me throughout my whole mission! I hope that you all will take the time to make some goals for what you want to come out of the year 2016 and what you are going to do this year to show your Heavenly Father that you love him too!! Have a great week!

Much love headed your way from the Kingdom!!:)
Elder Steadman

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!!!

Hello everybody!! Well, I hope that everyone had a very merry Christmas!!!:) I really can't complain at all because I got to Skype with my family and see some of my buddies this Christmas!!:) It really does not get much better that that for me!!:) It was so good to see everyone's faces!! It's been too long! The only bummer of that day was I had food poisoning and had a total of 23 bathroom visits in less than a day!! Haha look at me just constantly trying to break my records that I don't ever want to break! I felt bad for my family because I was not 100% there, but just know that I am all healed up now and feeling better than ever!!:)

This week was super fun, but we were not really able to visit with a whole lot of our investigators because we were constantly caroling and making treats and sending them out to people and also just visiting everyone! Lots of visiting, but not a whole lot of lessons! But that's ok because I think that this week we still were able to help people and show our love for them through our visits!!:) Christmas day was super fun because Elder Quirante was able to come down to the city! The area that he is in does not have any computers that can Skype, so he got special permission from President to be able to come down to the city and have Christmas with my Zone!! :) He slept over at my house on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas Day we all woke up and worked out on top of our house and then got ready for the day. Then we went to this huge mall that is in the city and they had a bowling alley inside the actual mall! It was insane! So we went bowling and... of course, I won;) Not that that's important or anything, but I had bragging rights for the rest of the day! Haha then I bought some athletic shoes for when I go home and then in the late afternoon we went over to the mission home because President and Sister Christensen were in charge of catering Christmas dinner for our Zone! All of my Zone and Quirante and his comp met at the mission home and we got to watch a video of compiled pics of 2015 and it was so awesome! I was surprised to see that the very last pic of the whole slideshow was of me doing that karate kick with the sunset in the background!! Haha I was so pumped!!:) Then we ate all together and the food was super good except for the fact that I am pretty sure that it gave me food poisoning, but oh well! You win some, you lose some, right!? Then the next day I got to Skype my family and like I said, that was just amazing! On Sunday we went to church and had 4 investigators show up as well, so that was super awesome to see!!:) Then that evening we went and visited some of the investigators that weren't able to make it to church and that was pretty much it for our Sunday!

This week I feel like a whole bunch of stuff happened, but then when I write it out I feel like not a whole lot happened. I guess you'll have to trust me when I say that it was a very busy and yet very fun week for us here!!:) It will also be kind of nice to be able to get back into a more regular schedule with the Christmas season coming to an end, but it sure has been a blast while it lasted! I love being a missionary around the Christmas season! I think that I am really going to miss it next year at this time!! I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have of a loving Savior coming to this earth to take upon him my sins and everyone's sins so that we can repent and return and live with Him again! It's the greatest gift that anyone could ever receive and it's the reason that I am out here on a mission… to share about this amazing gift with a people that in my opinion deserve it more that anyone! I love the people here in Cambodia and want all of them to receive knowledge of a Heavenly Father who loves them with a love unimaginable to the human mind! I want them all to have the very best because they deserve it! I am so lucky to have been able to come and serve among these amazing people! I could not have asked for a better place to serve! I thought I would be repaying my Heavenly Father in a small way by coming on a mission, but once again he has just poured out his blessings upon me while being out here on my mission and I am forever indebted to Him for this opportunity and experience of a lifetime! I will never be able to deny the things and experiences that I have had out here! I know with all of my heart that this church is true and it truly is the Church of Jesus Christ and that He truly does stand at the head of it. I know we are led by modern-day prophets and that they receive inspiration from on high to lead and guide His church. I love this gospel! It's a perfect gospel and I am so grateful for the knowledge of it! I love you all so much and hope you have a very happy New Year! Do something exciting and light a couple fireworks off for me!!:)

Much love headed your way!!
Elder Steadman

Homemade gym equipment :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Spreading love and the Christmas spirit

Hello everybody!! Well, another amazing week down in the books!! :) I don't really know where to start this week because there were a lot of really fun things that happened, but I guess I will start off with last p-day! So Monday we went shopping and I found some really cool Nike shoes and got a pair of them for my birthday! Then after that, we went to a place called the Pizza Company for lunch! It's really expensive, but it was soooo worth the price because it was delicious!!:) After we went there we went to a driving range and for the first time in almost 2 years I got to hit a bucket of balls!!:) It was an absolute blast!!!!:) It was so relaxing and I had the time of my life! Then Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty regular days! We just went out and taught lots of our investigators and members, which is always awesome!! We had a couple investigators move out of our area this week which was really sad, but hopefully they will continue to learn with the elders in their new area!!:)

Thursday was my birthday and my companion surprised me with a gift! He bought me shoes!! At the Nike shop I was trying to decide between these two pairs and when I finally decided, he secretly bought me the other pair that I really liked! He is so awesome! I was super surprised because I did not see him leave my sight for one second! But then he told me he had written on a sticky note and given it to one of the workers asking him to put the pair of shoes in his bag and he said he would pay them for it when I was not looking! What a stud! Then I got another surprise when a member from one of my old areas sent me a birthday cake! Haha she lives super far away so she had it sent by car and then asked one of her friends that lives pretty close to me to bring it to my house! So that was another cool surprise! To top things off, that night I got to dress up like Santa Claus and go Christmas caroling!! It was so fun! I had a big bag of treats and we went to visit some of the less active members of the ward and as we drove from house to house we sang the Khmer version of Jingle Bells, and then when we got to each house we sang Joy to the World and then Silent Night! It was super awesome and I cannot think of a better way to have spent my last birthday here in Cambodia then to have dressed up like Santa Claus and spread love and the Christmas spirit to the wonderful members here!!:)

Then on Saturday we had our Stake Christmas party! It was so much fun! It was just s full day of dancing and singing and performances of every kind, and then at the end they had some good things to eat! President Christensen came to the party as well!! When everyone was done eating they all started to dance… but it's not the same dancing as in America! It's a little more traditional ha :) You basically just move your hands around a lot and that means you can dance like a Cambodian! Anyway, I went up to President and told him he had to come and dance with me! He told me that he had already danced, but I did not accept no for an answer!! Haha so President, Sister Christensen and I all headed to the dance floor to do some Khmer traditional dancing! Haha once the other missionaries saw that President and I were dancing, they all joined in around us as well!! Haha we danced all together for a couple of minutes and then headed out to enjoy watching the members dance around! It was overall a super fun Christmas party!:) Then on Sunday we had church and we had 3 investigators show up this week, which was super awesome, and the best part was they all stayed for all 3 hours!!:) After church we all went caroling again, but this time Elder Riches dressed up as Santa Claus!!:) He is way too ripped to be Santa though haha!! We went to this cute old lady's house and she just started to cry and give all of us hugs as we were singing to her! It was seriously the cutest thing ever and the Spirit was super strong!! It was a great way to end a great Sunday, and a great week for that matter!!

I am not gonna lie, I am super excited to be able to Skype my friends and family this week! I can't believe the time is already here to see my family's cute faces again! And all my friends’ ugly faces!!:) Just kidding guys! Anyway, that's pretty much all that I have for you all this week! I love this work so much and I LOVE the people of Cambodia with all of my heart! I would not have picked anywhere else in the world to come and serve than right here! It truly is the best mission in the whole world! Please pray that the hearts of the people here will continue to be opened and that they will accept the wonderful message that we have to share with them! I love you all so much!!

Elder Steadman