Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"Don't wait, don't think... if it's good, just do!"

Hello everyone!!:) First of all, I just have to take a second to thank all of you so very much who took the time to email me and wish me a happy birthday!!:) It was fun to be able to get on today and see all of the people who wished me a happy birthday and a Merry Christmas and some of you even threw in a Happy New Year!! Haha I like it! Bust out all of the important holidays in one email! That's my kinda style!:) Seriously though, thank you all so very much!! You have no idea how awesome it is to be able to get online and see that there are still people who love you clear over in America!:) I have to give a huge shout out to my family for the unbelievable birthday and Christmas packages that I received this last week!! Honestly, I could not have asked for better gifts!! Especially the calendar and all of the letters!:) Thanks for all of you that took the time to write me a letter! I love you all:) I HAVE THE BEST FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!:) Wow I cannot believe that it is already Christmas time!! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE!!:):)

This last week has had some of the most fun and awesome days of my entire mission I think!! So many fun activities and awesome experiences I hardly even know where to start!! I guess we will start with the beginning of last week! As you already know, I turned 21 this year!! This would be the year that if I wanted to go and buy a cold one in America, I could do it legally (don't worry I'm not the slightest bit tempted). Here in Cambodia however, if you are old enough to hold a beer in your hand you are old enough to buy a beer as well!! Haha it’s kind of ridiculous! I wish that they had better rules for that so there weren't so many people with drinking problems here!! Anyway, on my birthday morning I opened my package (which was awesome) and then we got to go and do service at that house that we have been serving at forever now! We did the final step that day though, which was laying down the cement! Not going to lie… it was not a fun job because usually you have a machine to mix the sand and the cement mix together and then the cement mix together with the water to make it like cement, but they did not have that machine so we had to use a shovel and hoe and it was super hard and exhausting!! Ha but when we finally finished we felt very proud of all of the hard work that we had done! The owner of the house even gave us permission to carve our names into the cement so that they would always remember the Elders who built their house:) I thought that was pretty cool!

Next we went to the church and taught some lessons to investigators, which was also really good, and then after that we had English Class! I taught the class on making small talk and then I asked for some volunteers to come up to the front of the class to practice the things they had learned to say that day. It’s important to apply what you are learning because if you don't do that you will never learn!! So I called on one of the students and she came up and we began to make some small conversation and then all of the sudden she asked, "What is your birthday?" Haha how ironic! I told her that my birthday was actually today! The whole class thought that I was lying and didn't believe me so I just let it go and didn't try to convince them that it really was my birthday because I'm not a huge fan of that! But then my companion stood up out of his seat and told everyone that it really was my birthday and then told them all to sing the Happy Birthday Song to me! Ha so the whole class (in Cambodian accents) sang the song to me! Ha it was super cute and I was sufficiently embarrassed:) Then after English Class, our President from our Branch asked if he could meet with me for just a second, so I followed him into the activity room and the room was dark but then he turned on the lights and there were a whole bunch of members and they all screamed happy birthday! They had made a poster with a whole bunch of pics of me and my family and a very pretty cake and best of all there were a whole bunch of my very favorite members!!:) What a great surprise, right!?:) They had me go and stand behind the cake and then turned off the lights again and sang the Happy Birthday Song to me again and then I blew out all of the candles and when I blew them out they sprayed me with confetti and with silly string! It was so awesome!:) I knew that my birthday was going to be a little different this year because I was going to be away from loved ones back at home, but if I could not be with my family this year I could not have picked a better group of people to celebrate my birthday with! It was the best birthday in Cambodia any person could ever ask for!:) I felt so very loved and I was so grateful that I was able to celebrate this special day with all of these amazingly wonderful people here in Siem Reap!!:)

So my birthday was awesome!! Then last Sunday we had 3 of our investigators get baptized!! It was a mother and two of her children:) We have been teaching her since I first got into this area and now she was finally able to enter into that sacred covenant with her Heavenly Father! The joy that was on her face after baptism was indescribable! It reminded me that this is what I am out here to do! To give every person that same opportunity… to have that same wonderful smile written on their faces as well! The smile that says that you now KNOW that you have a Heavenly Father who loves you so very much and that you have just entered into a covenant with Him that shows you love Him and will walk down His path all the way to the end so that you can go back home and live with Him again someday! That is a smile of worth beyond what words could ever describe! The baptismal service was beautiful and she even invited her mother to come who is actually a member of another Christian church! When she came she said she felt different that she had ever felt before! This was such a huge answer to my companion’s and my prayers because we have been trying to get her mother to come and at least see what our church is like for over 3 months, but she just never had the desire to come! We understood and didn't try to force her to do anything that she didn't want to do, but just continued to teach her and trust that Heavenly Father would help up is our efforts! Well, He (as usual) came in clutch!! When her daughter invited her to come to the baptismal service, she had originally said no because that was the same day that her church had their Christmas party and it was the same time as the baptism! But when she woke up that Sunday morning she told us that she had the strongest impression that she needed to go to the baptism and watch her daughter get baptized! How wonderful it is to see Heavenly Father’s loving hand guide His own work here on earth! She said she really enjoys our church and wants to be baptized as well so we will be setting up a baptismal date for her as well this week:)

Then last week was also Christmas week!! Sorry that I could not email last Monday! I forgot to tell you that they changed our p-day to Friday instead because that's the day we Skype our families!:) My bad! Haha don't hate me Mom!!:):) So this last Saturday we had our ward Christmas party as well! The members asked us to come to the church last Friday night so that we could help them set up for the Christmas party! So we went over to the church for an hour or so and helped them set everything up so it looked all pretty and Christmassy!:) I made a Christmas colored chain link and then taped it onto the wall in the form of a Christmas tree! It was pretty sick:) Then we had the big party, starting from Saturday morning all the way into the evening! We invited a million people in our contacting to come to the church learn about our beliefs and also there was tons of food and refreshments for after the open house and Christmas performance! Unfortunately, not a lot of people came from our contacting, but there were a lot of people who were inactive that came to the party! So we felt like that was just as good because we were able to talk with them and the members were able to talk with them and invite them to come back to church and told them how much they missed seeing them at church, so that was really cool!!:) When members tell you that they miss you and want you to come back, that means so much more than the annoying elders calling to tell you over and over again that they miss you! Haha overall I would consider the Christmas party success even though we really did not get a lot of new investigators, at least we have a lot of less actives who now know that the member still love them and miss them!:)

Then this Wednesday we woke up at 4:30 am to head to Phnom Penh for the missionary Christmas party!:) In this mission at Christmas time we get to meet all together, all of the missionaries, and share Christmas Day all together!:) And so you know what that means right!? I got to see my boy, Elder Quirante!!!:) Man I missed him so much!!! It was so nice to be able to see him and catch up with him again and we all stayed in a hotel and we even got to share the same room so that was just an absolute party!!:) Please everyone… pray that I can be companions with him again! We would be an unstoppable force of righteousness if President put us together again!;) The Christmas party was lots of fun and we had a little bit of training from President as well, and then on Thursday we got back on the bus and headed back to Siem Reap!! It was a super long ride back! The guy did not know how to drive and it took 10 hours to get home when usually it only takes 6 or maybe 7! Not fun!! Ha but then I got to wake up the next day and Skype with my family!! That was the best Christmas gift ever!!:) It's been since February since I have seen them and I was far overdue to see all of their cute faces!! It was an absolute blast! We laughed our absolute butts off and had the best time ever talking to each other! Or at least I did!;) I LOVE YOU FAMILY!!:):) Can't wait to see you all again in just a couple short months!!:):)

This Sunday was filled with lots of emotions and it was the first time I have had feelings of this kind on my mission. The feeling that was felt quite strongly this week was sorrow. When I got to the church, we had a meeting right away with the President and he informed us of some very sad news. One of my recent converts who has been struggling with a severe skin disease passed away this Sunday morning. When President told me, I couldn't believe it at first. I didn't want it to be real. My heart was filled with heartache because earlier this week I received a random thought that I should really go to visit him at his house, but the thing was he moved and was no longer in my area and so I decided that next week I would plan to put him in my planner and get permission from the other elders to go into their area and visit him. I also told myself that I was way too busy this week with going to Phnom Penh and all of that stuff. Later in the week, I received that same feeling that I should really go see him. Once again, I told myself that it would not be a problem and that I would go see him when I had more time to plan the longer bike ride into our schedule. So this Sunday I came to the terrible conclusion that I had tried to put off the prompting that my Heavenly Father was giving me through the Holy Ghost. It was a rude awakening to the importance of doing as soon as you are told to do! Only God knows the future and what is going to happen tomorrow and so when he inspires us, we need to act on it quickly! Don't wait, don't think, if it's good, just do! After church, we went to his mother’s house and that's where his body was and we went upstairs to see him. Then the missionaries and about 15 other members who came with us (including our President) gathered around him and said a prayer all together. Then after we sang "I Need Thee Ever Hour" and the Spirit was incredible and it was impossible to hold in the tears. I knew as we were singing that he was in the room with us because when we sang we invited the Holy Ghost to come into that house as well. With tears in my eyes I told him I was sorry for not coming to see him sooner. I told him I loved him and was so happy for the opportunity to have been able to meet him and teach him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I felt his presence as I talked and felt comforted by his spirit. He was very young… only about 30 years old, but he was born with a skin disease and it restricted him from being able to walk or move normally and it caused him a lot of pain. So as sad as it was to see him leave this earth, I was so happy to think that soon he will be receiving a body that is perfect in every way and does not have any imperfections like his earthly body had. Soon he will have a perfected body, but for right now I know he is in the spirit world currently being a missionary himself and teaching people that don't yet know about the gospel of Jesus Christ to receive a knowledge of Him. I know that with that big huge smile that he has, they will all want to hear what he has to say! Please pray for his wife and his daughter that they may both be comforted and blessed during this difficult times in their lives as well.

On top of all of this emotional stuff, it was transfer calls this week and I am getting transferred!! I was super nervous to find out where I was going to be going and I was already pretty bummed out as far as the things that had happened on Sunday. But....transfer calls came in and the news was some of the best news I possibly could have received! I am headed back to ស្ទឹងមានជយ័!!! :):) (Stung Meanchey!) President called me and told me that I would be going back to serve there and that I would be the district leader over there as well!! I was so excited when he told me! I get to go see all of my old recent converts!:) Such a blessing! My companion’s name is Elder Bostrom and he is just barely getting out of training, so I am going to be his “mom” (the person that's companions with someone right out of training.) One of the elders here in Siem Reap is in the same group as him and he told me I am going to like him a lot and we are going to get along just fine!:) Man it was a hard day today, but as usual at the end of the day Heavenly Father cheered me up and showed me just how much He loves me!! The mission really is an emotional roller coaster! You can be at what feels like the very bottom of the hill when all of the sudden you are back on top and feeling like you can touch the top of the mountain! I love all the experiences I am having out here! The difficult ones, the happy ones, the sad ones, the exciting ones, the frustrating ones, the funny ones, and everything in between!! I'm so grateful to be able to take these two years to be able to learn and grow! I know these experiences are going to bless me for the rest of my life!! Well, that's all I have for you this weekend! I am so sorry that it is so long this week!! Just lots of information to catch you all up on!! :) I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!! I'll be emailing you all from my old home next week!!:):) But until then God bless you all:)

With love,
Elder Steadman

Friday, December 19, 2014

Guided footsteps

Hello everyone! This week has been another solid week here in the Kingdom of Cambodia! :) So this week I have a super cool story that I want to share with all of you! This last Thursday my companion and I had about an hour of free time right before we were to go back inside the house for the night, so we decided to ride our bikes down the main road instead of taking a right like we usually do to go to our house! Going straight is longer, but we had time so we did not mind ha Anyway, as we were driving down the street I said a little prayer in my heart that Heavenly Father would point out the people that I could talk to that would spark an interest in the things that I had to say. We kept on riding down that road for awhile and then I felt all of the sudden that we should take a right, so we took a right and we went down this road that I have never been down before and it was a super, super long road! haha We saw people every once in awhile, but it just did not feel right yet to pull over and talk to them so we kept on going. Then we got to a road that we were familiar with and I knew that if we took a left, that we would get back on the same main road that we were on and be able to continue riding. However, when we got to the fork in the road, my companion said that he wanted to take a right instead. I had no clue where that road led to, but we were not in a hurry so I was down:)

We went down that road a little ways and right when we were about to turn back, I felt like we should pull over and talk to a person that was sitting outside her home. I asked her if she could help us know how to get back to the main road and she continued to tell us what we could do to get back on the main road. Just as we were about to leave her, an older woman was riding her bike by and the woman that we were originally talking to said, "Just follow her… she knows how to get to the main road." So we looked at the lady on the bike and before we could even get anything out of our mouths she said, "Hello Elders! I haven't seen you guys in a while!" We were both shocked! My companion just took a shot in the dark and asked how long she had been a member of our church, because usually the only people that know to call us Elders are the members. She said that she had been a member for four years! After that we asked her if she could take us to her home really fast so that we could know where she lives and go back and visit her another day. She took us to her home where, as it turns out, another woman her same age lives right next to her who is also a member. My companion and I could not believe it! It was such a cool experience to be able to find these two "lost sheep." It was such a huge testimony builder to me to see that Heavenly Father literally guided each and every one of our footsteps that night! Each and every decision that we made that we originally we thought was our own was, in fact, inspiration coming from our Heavenly Father so that he could lead us to two lost members in our branch and help bring them back into the fold! I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!! I know with all of my heart that this is the work of God that I am doing right now at this point in my life! It’s hard work, but it’s the most rewarding work that I have ever done! It’s always good to have experiences like that one to be able to remind yourself on hard days that God is always watching out over you and his other children! It also has made me worry less about if my thoughts are coming from the Spirit or not. I am learning to just do what feels right and most the time if you’re doing what feels right, you are in fact following the Spirit!

This week we were supposed to have some baptisms, but there were some small complications that arose with work and other things. We are hoping that next week we will have some investigators who will be able to have the opportunity to receive baptism! They have all been working so very hard to bring their lives in harmony with the teachings of the Savior! It truly has been a humbling experience to watch! This week I also got to build another house, so that was fun! I could totally build a house for my wife when I get back home! I don't think that she would be incredibly impressed though, considering houses are a little more extravagant over in America! But if she is down to settle, I can make a dang good bamboo house with tin walls! Hear that ladies!? If that doesn't real them in, I don't know what will! ;) haha

Anyway, I am loving my mission more than ever! It’s so nice being able to communicate with the people here a little easier! At first I had so much love for them, but I just could not understand a single word that they were saying. Now I have even more love for them AND I can understand tons of what they’re saying! What a blessing! I feel bad for everyone who has come to Cambodia and not had the opportunity to learn the language and converse with the people in their native tongue! That is a blessing given to me that I will never be able to repay my Heavenly Father for! I love my mission! I love the people here and I love this work! You are all in my prayers and I hope that you will all be safe this week and enjoy a wonderful Christmas season with each other! :) Love you all so very much!

Elder Steadman

These pics are all from a war museum they got to tour :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Baptisms, testimonies, and Taylor Swift

Hello everyone! :) Well another week is down in the books! It’s been such a great week for me here in Cambodia! I love my mission and I hope all of you have a great week as well! Much love! 

Elder Steadman 

Just kidding haha my mom would literally come to Cambodia and kill me if I really sent that short of a home letter! :) haha My week has been super awesome! First of all, the highlight of my week was that we had two of our investigators get baptized this week! :) It was a middle-aged woman named Ming Mom and a girl about my age named Bong Bou! We have been teaching them for quite a while now and they have seriously been looking forward to this day since the very first lesson that we taught them! I remember in the first lesson they asked if they could receive baptism the next Sunday and although that was music to my ears, I had to explain to them that we had to teach them everything that we believe before they could get baptized so they would fully know what they are going to be covenanting to do rather than just getting baptized and then having no clue what they got themselves into! ha So we continued to teach them and work with them and they accepted everything that we taught them and yesterday they got to make one of the most important promises that this life has to offer! It was a beautiful baptism and the Spirit was so very strong in the room as they both got up to bear their testimonies! 

In church this week it was Fast Sunday as well and Ming Mom got up to bear her testimony and it was the cutest thing ever! ha I was up on the stand doing translations for the foreigners that were there and then she got up to the pulpit to speak and she told everyone that she was super new and that if she said anything that wasn't completely right not to get mad at her. Then after that she just turned to me and started having a conversation with me hahaha She just gave like a mini lesson about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and after every sentence she said, "Right Elder? Isn't that right? That's what you taught me!" It was so cute! haha I agreed with everything that she said but it was literally impossible for me to translate while she was bearing her testimony because really she was just having a full blown conversation with me at the pulpit! :) ha Everyone one in the ward just loves her though because she is so humble and has such a strong desire to follow all of the commandments of God and know all of them perfectly so that she can follow them! She definitely has a special place in my heart as well! :)

As for other news this week! Do you remember when I told you that I would try to do something embarrassing so that you guys could have a good laugh?! Well I did quite a few embarrassing things this week! haha In English class (I teach English 2 times a week if I haven't told you that already ha) I made up an activity for the students because we have really been trying to work on speaking full sentences so that people can understand them! For some reason that is a super hard thing for them to do, so I made up an activity where I gave every student the chance to have me do anything that they wanted me to do (within the bounds of missionary rules), but when they asked me to do whatever they wanted me to do it had to be in a full and complete sentence or else I did not have to do what they asked me to do! I figured I might have to do a couple things here and there, but that mainly we would just be working on how to structure sentences. Oh how wrong I was! It’s like the whole time before that class period, they were just messing around with me! All of a sudden ALL of my students knew how to speak in complete sentences! haha Not only that, but they had great imaginations about what they wanted me to do! The student that went first told me that he wanted me to wrap my tie around my head… that one was not too bad, but then the next student told me to 100 push ups in a row. After that I knew that I was in trouble because now all of the students’ heads were churning thinking of what they could have me do! haha To my surprise the next student asked me to sing 22 by Taylor Swift....how do they even know Taylor Swift!?!? Well I did what anyone would do if you’re forced to sing 22 by Taylor Swift..... I sang my heart out!! ha After that there were a few students who got the sentence wrong, thank heaven! They tried asking me to do the Michael Jackson dance, the worm, and an impersonation of a drunk Khmer.....dodged a bullet there!! haha But then the last two dares that I had to do were to act like a karate master and then sing the Lazy Song by Bruno Mars....they really got a kick out of me singing! haha It was a super fun English class and although it was a little bit goofy, I feel like they really are starting to get the hang of English sentence structure! It did help that if they said it wrong I was not going to have to do what they said! That really made them think about what they wanted to say and then say it correctly so they could laugh at me! :)

Overall this week was super fun! Lots of laughs (well people laughing at me) and also some great spiritual experiences! I sure do love my mission! I love the people of Cambodia and I love making them smile! Even if that includes me embarrassing myself! I encourage all of you this week to find someone you can make smile! A smile goes a long way… you do not always have to embarrass yourself but you can do something Christ-like towards someone so that all people all around the world can feel the wonderful spirit that this time of year always brings! :) Christmas time is such an amazing time of the year! Go and share the love with others so that we can all feel the true meaning of Christmas this year! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Steadman

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving... Cambodian style

Break out the Christmas music people! Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is on its way here!!! :) I hope everyone has had a great last week full of thanks! :) This week was a fun Thanksgiving unlike any I have ever had before! As some of you may know by now, I am living in a third world country so Thanksgiving technically does not really exist here, but the elders and I here in Siem Reap still wanted to celebrate this wonderful holiday with each other (and it was an excuse to eat American food! haha) Anyway so this Thanksgiving we planned to do a lunch with all of the elders and the sisters here in Siem Reap (8 people total). Each of us was in charge of making different things for the lunch! And President and Sister Moon were nice enough to give us a 2-hour lunch break on Thanksgiving Day so we didn't have to hurry and go straight back to work! ha So I was in charge of making mashed potatoes. I figured that was an easy enough job and that I did not really have to worry about doing anything until Thanksgiving morning! haha Well that bit me in the butt! haha When I went down Thanksgiving morning to make the mashed potatoes I realized that we have nothing to mash the potatoes with! haha Oh the things you just forget you don't have in a third world country! ha Well, that was not going to defeat me! I was still confident that I could make some dang good tasting mashed potatoes without a potato masher! So after I had cooked the potatoes, I bent one of the forks that we had in the kitchen and started to mash them up with a fork! haha Now there were 8 people that I was cooking for so I peeled like 16 potatoes so that there would be enough for everyone to get full and let me just tell you right now, I literally wanted to amputate my hand after I had finished it hurt so bad! haha I had a heartbeat in my hand for a solid hour and a half! The pain was so very real but the results were a success!!!! I mean I hate to brag, but let me just tell you right now that my potatoes were delicious!!!!!!! haha Our Thanksgiving was a total success (except for the deviled eggs....probably because of the name....just sayin’.) You will have to check out the video of how they turned out. 

But all of us ate our hearts out as everyone person should on Thanksgiving! :) It truly was delicious and even though I was not able to be with my family this Thanksgiving, it just made me all the more thankful for the wonderful family that I have back at home and all of the many things that they have given me throughout the years including love, patience, advice, laughter, support, and so many other things that I just do not have time enough to go on and explain! I CANNOT EXPRESS HOW MUCH I LOVE MY FAMILY!!!! I am so grateful to have a family that loves me so much and cares so much for my well-being! That unfortunately is pretty rare in the world now days, but I was lucky enough to get put in a family full of love and full of happiness! I will never be able to thank my Heavenly Father enough for that gift given to me! I am also so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the opportunity to come and serve here in Cambodia! Heavenly Father knew that it would be hard for me to leave behind such an amazing family for 2 years, so he continued to bless me by sending me to the best mission that this world has to offer!! I am forever grateful for the opportunity I have to come and serve the loving people of Cambodia! It truly is an honor to go out every day and share with these wonderful and humble people the beautiful message that we have to share with them! And that is that they have a Father in heaven that loves them and wants them to return back to Him! Some people here do not have the kind of family that I have. They have very hard lives and live under very hard circumstances, but I have the wonderful blessing of giving them knowledge of another father that they have! A Heavenly Father who loves them more then they could possibly comprehend! And He has mounds and mounds of blessings just waiting for them! That is what I get to do every day! How great is my life!!!

I am so thankful for all of the blessings that my Heavenly Father has given me! I do not always feel worthy to receive all of these gifts that He has sent out to me, but I am so thankful that He continues to love and bless me each and every day of my mission! This week has been a great week! It seems like the weeks keep going by faster and faster! I cannot believe it’s almost Christmas already!!! Time is almost going a little bit too fast! haha But next week we are going to have a baptism! It’s one of our investigators who is a middle-aged women and she is so awesome! I am so excited to be able to be here to watch her make these important covenants with her Heavenly Father and to be able to continue down the path that our Father in Heaven has prepared for all of us! Things are super good here in Siem Reap! I love my mission so much!! Thank you all for all of the love and support that you have given me! I really truly can feel the love from you all! It’s your prayers that help us missionaries go hard every single day! Without you all, we would not be able to be as effective! I love you all so very much and hope you had a great Thanksgiving! :) Start busting out some Christmas music and sing real loud for me!!! :)

Elder Steadman

This is Ming Mom... the lady who wanted the
phone number of Austin's boss :)

These next pics are of Austin and the other missionaries helping to build a house for a member. He said they called him "the elephant" because he could lift things that normally would take 3 Cambodians :) He said it was a lot of fun and he's pretty sure quite a bit easier than American home construction!

Monday, November 24, 2014

"I think I can say I'm like 5% Asian now!"

Hello everyone! Another great week over here in Asia! :) It seems like this week has just flown by! I really can’t even remember what happened this week and what happened two weeks ago! It all just seems like one big blur!! ha So I guess I will start off with church this week! I was really hoping that some of the investigators and less active members that we have been working with would make their way back to church this week because we have really been encouraging them and promising them that blessings come to us when we attend church! But as everyone who has served a mission knows, you just do not know what is going to happen on Sunday until Sacrament meeting starts! Every Sunday is full of anticipation! It’s the anticipation that I used to feel right before I would watch my Utes play football, but now it’s watching my investigators and less actives come walking into church! haha Oh how things have changed! Anyways, this week was a huge blessing because we had tons of people show up to church! It was the most that we have had since we have split into two branches! Usually we have like 50, and last week we only had like 45, but this week we had 78!! It was so awesome! Almost every single one of my investigators showed up, and a couple of the less active members that we had taught showed up as well! (Including a less active family that we had not been able to go and teach yet, but we were planning on going and teaching them this week!) So that was AWESOME!!! I felt really grateful to be able to have so many people show up to church and really show their faith by making the time to come to church! Especially during these busy months in the year for them… some of them are literally risking not having anything to eat that night in order to make time to come to 3 hours of church! It truly is amazing the faith that they have here! I wish that I could say that I had the faith of some of these members before I came on my mission, but I would be lying to you all if I said that I did!

Another cool miracle that happened this week had to do with an investigator named Sophiap. He has been learning with the elders for over a year and a half and he has had the strongest desire to get baptized since the very beginning, but the company that he works for has not allowed him to get work off. They do not like people that worship Christ so every time that he has asked if he can get work off on Sunday, they have quickly denied him! Two weeks ago we taught a lesson on fasting and the miracles that can come from it. We challenged him to fast and to ask Heavenly Father to soften the hearts of his employers so that he could be able to get work off on Sunday. Sure enough this week, guess who showed up to Sacrament meeting!?:):) When I saw him come in I almost fell off my chair! He told us that his boss would let him work the midnight shift on Sundays so that he would be able to come to church!!! Wow the blessings that come to us when we put our faith in the Lord! He had already asked them countless times to get work off, but he still had the faith to ask again and when he did, Heavenly Father provided him with a miracle!! He now has a baptismal date for the end of December and we cannot wait to continue to teach him and help him learn and grow so he can truly be ready when that special day comes!

As far as a funny story, unfortunately I do not have anything for you this week! I promise I will try to do something stupid you all can laugh at next week! ;) I did however eat a duck egg with a half developed duck inside of it! It’s super popular here! They stick the egg in the ground for like 2 months and then when the duck is halfway developed they punch a whole in the top and let it dry out and then eat it! haha It’s interesting! Not as bad as you think it would be! Or maybe I'm just getting used to eating weird things… I don't really know haha because some of the stuff I hated when I first got here I find myself craving! haha Oh and one more thing is I got to work in the rice fields for the first time this week! I really felt like it brought out the true Asian in me! I think I can say I'm like 5% Asian now! :) Anyways that's all I have for you all this week! I love you all so much! I love being on my mission! I honestly would not want to be anywhere else in the WHOLE WORLD right now than right here in Cambodia! Don't be jealous! :) Love you all! Love the gospel! Love my mission!

Elder Steadman

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Transfer calls came and...

What’s up everyone!!! I hope you have all had a great week this last week! For those of you who do not know, this week was transfer call week, which means on Sunday we get a call saying if we’re going to be leaving Siem Riep or if we are going to be staying for another transfer! Before I got the call I was really, really hoping that I would be able to stay in Siem Reap because I am working with so many people right now and really did not want to leave all of that behind! One of my investigators, who is a middle aged woman, asked me how long I would be staying here in Siem Reap and I told her that this week was transfer calls and so I could be leaving but there was the chance that I could stay as well! Her eyes started to water and then she said, "Can I have your bosses phone number? I need to tell him that you need to stay here until you are done teaching me." haha It was so cute and I felt SO lucky that I have been able to have the opportunity to be able to get to know her as well! :) Anyway, so they finally called to tell me if I was transferring or not and.... I'm staying!!!!! :):) Man I was so excited when I heard that I have one more transfer to serve here in Siem Reap! :) The work really is starting to progress here and I am loving the time that I have here to be able to do all I can to help the members and my investigators progress, as well as my myself!!

This Sunday we were supposed to have a baptism, but when we went to meet with them earlier in the week, we found out that two of the three investigators did not have any type of verification that they were married by law, and so before they can get baptized they have to go get a paper from the leader of their Phum (area) that they are officially married and that he recognizes them as a married couple. After that they can get baptized. So that was another setback this week, but they are still so awesome and it will be an amazing day when they are able to receive baptism and become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints :)

Ok, so I have a bit of a funny story this week for you all! So yesterday in Church we were headed into third hour and one of the members came up to me and asked if I would be willing to help him teach this upcoming hour. Of course I told him yes and that I would be happy to help him teach a little bit during the next hour! So when we got into the room, he started the class and after the prayer he got up to speak and said, "Ok, now we will turn the time over to Elder Steadman to teach the lesson for today." I was completely caught off guard :) haha He waved me up to the front of the class and handed me the book and told me that I could pick any lesson that I wanted to teach and teach that! haha I am sure my face was beet red! I had no clue whatI was going to do for the next 50 minutes! I was quite sure that I didn't even know how to speak khmer for 50 minutes!!! haha Well, I opened up the book (which was in khmer by the way, and I'm still a slow reader haha), and the first thing that I saw was teaching the gospel! I figured that was a subject that I could probably talk about for a little while so I went with that! A little cool miracle was that during my personal study earlier, I had read a great chapter in D&C Section 50 about what our duty is here on the earth, and luckily it tied in perfectly with what I was going to teach on that day! Coincidence? I think not! (Name that movie...) Anyway, I went on to teach about why we teach the Gospel and when you break it down and get to the very bottom of it, it’s because we love our Heavenly Father! Our Heavenly Father has told us that if we love him then we will love all of his children! When we are teaching and sharing about the gospel we are showing that we love our fellow brother and sisters and when we show that we love them, we are showing that we love God! I then did a small example and drew up on the board two stick figures. I told them that one stick figure was a member of the Church and then the other stick figure was not a member of the Church! I talked about two different situations! The first situation was that we wanted to talk to him about the gospel, but that we got scared and we thought he might think that we are weird or he might reject us, so we don't end up talking to him about it and we end up going about our own ways and doing our own thing. The other example is that you get up the nerve to talk to that person because you know that what you have to share is very important and can bless his life forever, so you decide to take the risk and to talk with him. Then he decides that he wants to learn and then he learns with the Elders or Sisters and decides that he wants to get baptized and be a member of the Church as well. Once he is a member of the Church, he finds a beautiful woman and gets married and they have children who grow up to be members and some of those children go and serve missions as well and come back and have children… and so you can see that in a matter of only about 50 years, you have the possibility to help hundreds receive a knowledge of the Gospel, all because you had the faith and the courage to talk to that one person and invite them to learn about what you believe to be true! I know with all of my heart that its our duty as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to help our Father in Heaven spread His work here on the earth! I know that we are doing a work that is of far greater importance than we can now understand it to be! I am so grateful to be able to dedicate 2 years of my life fully to The Lord and His work here on the earth! I love this gospel and I encourage all who have the wonderful blessing of knowing of this gospel to go out and share it! Share what you know to be true and the power of the Holy Ghost will help them know that what you are saying is true! I love you all so very much and hope that you all have a great week!

All my love,
Elder Steadman :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lessons in love and the language

Hello Everyone! Man another great week over here in Asia!! :) Haha First of all I want to talk a little bit about Zone Conference! Zone Conference was super awesome this week! We talked about the importance of looking at people as people, not as numbers! And also looking at a person as a child of God! As we were learning about this I really thought about how I wanted to look at all of my investigators! So this week when I met all of my investigators, instead of picturing them as the people that they are right now, I pictured all of them as what they could be with the gospel of The Lord in their lives! Well, amazing things happen when you do this! I have found a love for my investigators that I did not know that you could have! It honestly is very difficult to explain because its a feeling that I really have not felt before, but the best way to describe it would be the undying desire to help them continue down the path of God so they can receive happiness beyond what they now can comprehend! I have gained a desire to help them find the happiness that I have found with the help of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! We had some investigators who were supposed to get baptized this week, but as we met with them I could tell that they were a little bit overwhelmed and maybe not knowing fully what they were doing, so I told them that if they wanted to wait a week or two, that would be completely fine and that we would help them understand better before they were baptized! They seemed very relieved and thanked me! They said they want to get baptize this up-coming Sunday, but they just want to review over the lessons that we have taught them so they can have a strong knowledge of the Gospel before they get baptized! I’m really happy that they have a desire to know for sure that what they are doing is right before they get baptized! The last thing that I would want for them is to get baptized and feel like they have no clue what they got themselves into! So my companion and I are going to do our very best to help them this next week so that they can have a strong knowledge of the Gospel before they are baptized!

My investigators are all doing so great! The biggest trial is just getting them to come to church! People here in Siem Reap are super busy all of the time because this is like the most visited place in Cambodia as far as tourists go, and lots of our members are tour guides or something along those lines so they are busy a lot of the time! Especially these next couple months… there are lots and lots of people that come here on vacation for Christmas, which means all of my investigators are super busy as well! Ha but that's ok because they all have great faith and I know that as we continue to teach them they will realize the importance of what we are teaching them and then they will have a desire to make those sacrifices in order to be able to come to church! :)

Ok, I have got a great funny story for you all this week! :) So this week my companion had to go to Phnom Penh for some training and so I was companions with one of the brand new missionaries for like 3 days! His name is Elder Jensen and he is super cool! He reminds me so much of what I was like when I first got to the country as well! haha But anyway, in the morning we practiced Lesson 2 with each other and practiced some sentences and things that he could say during the second lesson with our investigators and he did super good! So when we went out for the day, we taught one of our investigators at the church and we were teaching them lesson 2 (the Plan of Salvation). Anyway, we were doing good, and he was remembering all of the things that we had practiced that morning, but then we got to the Atonement...haha. So he was talking about how Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and what he wanted to say was, "ព្រះយេស៊ូវបានលុតជង្គង់ចុះហើយអធិស្ឋានទៅកាន់ព្រះវរបិតាសួគ៌"… which means that Jesus knelt down and prayed to Heavenly Father. But instead he accidentally said, "ព្រះយេស៊ូវបានពត់ជើងតូចហើយអធិស្ឋានទៅកាន់ព្រះវរបិតាសួគ៌"… which translates to, “Jesus peed and prayed to Heavenly Father.” Hahahahahaha When he said that I just looked straight at my investigator and he had this huge grin on his face and we had a gggoooooooooddddddd laugh about that one hahahahahahaha :) I felt bad for him cause he had no clue what he said, but then when I told him what he had said he was sufficiently embarrassed! hahaha It was a great laugh though! Easily one of the hardest laughs I have had on my mission and that story went straight into the journal right when I got home! haha I thought I would share with you all as well so you could have a little laugh and know that we missionaries have a good sense of humor as well! :) Gotta love trying to learn a new language!!! Honestly, I know all of you cannot read what I put in there, but those two sentences are really close to each other so it’s an understandable mistake... but a hilarious one none the less:) 

I love learning this language and all of the funny, embarrassing things that happen to all of us along the way! I love serving my mission here in Cambodia! I feel so blessed each and every day that I have the opportunity to serve these wonderful people! I can’t think of a better place in this entire world to give two years to my Lord! I love all of the hard, sad, happy, and funny things that come with serving a mission! I hope you all have a great week as well! That’s all I have got for this week! Until next week!

Elder Steadman:)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tourist adventures and impromptu service opportunities

Hello everyone! Well it’s been two weeks of fun that I have to catch you up on this week! I apologize for not being able to write last week. I did not get back from the temples until right before I had to go out and start proselyting again! But this week I have plenty of time to write to you all and let you know how my last 2 weeks have been! First of all I have to tell you all about how amazing my last P-Day was!!! So last Monday I had the opportunity to go and visit all of the very famous sites that they have here in Siem Reap!!! It was so awesome! The first site that we went to was called Angkor Wat and it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World! We got to wake up early and go to see the sun come up over the temple, which was just unbelievable!! After that we got to go inside of the temple and honestly it still boggles my mind how that temple could have possibly been made so long ago!!! All of the artwork and everything that was carved into the rock and all of the statues were just amazing! There were quite a few things as far as what they believed back then that correlate with some of the things that we believe in our Church, which I thought was interesting!

Anyway, so after Angkor Wat we went to this place called Bonteay Srei, which was an old kind of red looking temple that a queen used to live in, and that was beautiful as well! :) After that we went to Bonteay Sray and saw another temple there that was of, course, beautiful as well and then our last visit was to a place called Angkor Thom and that was easily the second coolest temple that we saw that day! At that temple there are a million head carvings. Well actually there are 37 I believe that represent all of the different provinces in Cambodia! Over all, the day of being a tourist was an experience of a lifetime! It’s so cool to be able to go and learn a little bit more about the Cambodian people!

As far as the rest of the week goes, I do have one funny story that I want to share with all of you guys! So on Friday last week we were headed to a house of one of our investigators and one of the members offered to help us with the lesson. Of course we said yes! haha So he took us in his car and we warned him before hand that the road there was not very good and was currently flooded at the time, but he told us not to worry about it so we went! On our way there, the road was super bad but luckily we did not get stuck! When we got to the investigator’s house, we had a great lesson and then after the lesson, we hopped back into the car to head home! On our way home though, we were not as lucky as we were on the way to the house! Sure enough, we got stuck in some mud! My companion and I got out to look at how bad it was! I got out and looked at the drivers side, which was not stuck in mud… it was on a small patch of cement, but my companion got out and looked on the passenger side and it was stuck pretty good in the mud! We told him that we would help him push so that he could get out easily! So we counted to three and started to push and he slammed on the gas! I was pushing super hard, but as I was pushing I heard my companion kind of scream a little bit! I was worried that something bad might have happened, but I could not yet look because

I was just trying really hard to get the car out. Finally we got the car out of the mud, I turned to look at my companion to see if he was ok and I saw a picture that I will never be able to forget! He was literally covered head to toe in mud! hahahahaha When the member went to hit the gas, the wheels were spinning out and spraying my companion with incredible amounts of mud! haha He tried to turn and take cover in a small pond, but just ended up getting his whole backside covered in mud by the tires as well!!! haha I am SOOOO mad that I forgot my camera that day! His face was absolutely priceless! Covered in mud and beet red trying to explain in Khmer why he didn't move in time, which made it all the funnier! haha Needless to say, we had to go home to get him cleaned up but that has got to be one of the funniest stories of my mission so far! haha

Anyways as far as doing actual missionary work, the work is going so good here in Cambodia! This Sunday went better than the last Sunday and we had lots of our investigators show up to church this week, which is always good! Last Sunday, the president assigned 3 people to speak in the first hour of church, and all of them finished their talks at 2:35! haha We had 25 more minutes left in first hour and no speakers! The president and his counselors were all looking at each other, not knowing exactly what they should do, and I could tell that they were super lost, so I stood up and went up to the stand and gave a talk as well! haha I talked about enduring to the end and the importance of enduring! I spoke for as long as I could and got to 5 minutes before the hour haha, so we ended first hour a little bit early but that’s ok! It was still a good meeting! :) And then this Sunday I got to do translation for the foreigners. We give them a headset and then I just speak in a microphone and translate what the speakers are saying! This week was fast Sunday though, which made it a little more difficult because people tell different random stories about their lives, which sometimes can be really hard to translate, but I got through it! :) haha

Over all things are just amazing over here in Cambodia! The work is progressing and I am loving the opportunity to be able to proselyte here in Siem Reap! I hope all of you are doing well at home! You are all in my thoughts and prayers! Love you all so very much! Until next week! :)

Elder Steadman

P.S. A ton more pics are posted under More Pictures on the blog :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

An update from the missionary mom..

Hi everyone! Austin had the amazing opportunity this last p-day to tour Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world!!! It was an all day excursion, so he only had time to send the following quick blurb:

"I am so sorry... I am already super late but I want you all to know that I love you so much! This week was so good and I cannot wait to tell you about 2 weeks of my life next Monday! The temples were amazing and my health is back and better than ever!!! I love you all SOOOOOO much!! Dad, your letter made water come out of my face!!! Punk!!! ;) Sure love you and it's always SO good to hear that I am loved as well!!! I want to expound on the letters you all sent me, but I just don't have time to do it today. I'm sorry! We will talk next week! I sure love you all so much and you are in my prayers every single night!!! SOOOOOOO much love headed your way from over here in Cambodia!!!! :):)"

I'm sure he'll have lots to catch us up on next week. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that all the exclamation points and smiley faces mean he's doing just great and still feeling like the luckiest missionary in the world! Thank you so much for all of your prayers and concern for our sweet missionary boy. They are most certainly felt by him... and by us too :)


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Awesome newbies

Well, this week was another good week over here in Cambodia! This week I have been just a little bit under the weather with a cough and a stuffy nose, but I think that the cold is finally on its way out of my system!! This week was the first week with the two Branches in Siem Reap meeting at separate times because last week was General Conference and we still met all together!! This week at church was a little bit crazy to say the least! For our Branch President, it was his first time getting up and standing in front of the congregation and the poor guy was nervous as can be! On top of that, his first counselor (who was the old Branch President) was out of town on business so he was riding completely solo!! He also had to sustain half the branch into different callings, which took a good portion of the meeting! ha And then, to the shock of the congregation, he called two people up to speak that until that very moment did not know they were going to be speaking! haha How awesome!! After the meeting, we explained to him that usually we call a week in advance and extend the invitation to stand up and speak in Sacrament Meeting! He is doing so awesome though! Here is some crazy information that will tell you just how young the Church is here in Cambodia… he is still a recent convert!!! He has not yet hit a year of being a member in this Church and has been called to be the Branch President!! He is doing so awesome, especially considering the small coaching that he has been given! In this Church we really like the philosophy of just kind of getting thrown into the work and you will figure it out as you go and learn and grow! He is so humble as well! Always willing to listen to the missionaries’ advice and acts on what we have suggested he could do!!! He is a natural leader and is going to do amazing things for the Church here in Siem Reap! So this Sunday was a little bit crazy, but you could expect nothing less for the circumstances that we were in!

My companion and I did not have investigators show up to church this week, which was a good wakeup call that we really need to kick it into high gear and start working a lot harder! With me being sick, we have not been able to do as much as we wanted, but this next week we are really going to put forth some effort so that we can do better at helping people continue learning about the Gospel of Jesus Christ! But this week we did get 3 new investigators! When we were riding our bikes one day, this Lokpu (what they call every middle-aged man) called us over and told us that he always sees us and has always wanted to ask what we are doing, but never dared. But today he had the nerves to call after us and ask us. We then told him that we were missionaries and we go around teaching about Jesus Christ, and we asked him if we could come to his house again and teach his family and he was more than willing to have us over again! They have since learned three times with us and are loving learning about the Gospel! The other investigator that we found this week came from a referral given to us by one of my recent converts! He lives with one of his buddies and has been sharing the gospel with him and finally his friend agreed to meet with us! He is super cool! He has never learned anything about God ever in his life, so we teach really slow and make sure that he understands everything before we move on, but he is also progressing very well and we are looking forward to the opportunity to keep on teaching him the Gospel! :)

The work is still progressing like crazy here in Cambodia! We have just fallen a little bit behind this last week so we are going to work double hard to get back on top of things! I love how busy it is though! It’s so much better to be busy than to wake up and not know for sure what you are going to be doing for that day! It truly is a blessing in every way that I have been called to serve in Cambodia! I love it here! The people, the food, and the weather...ok sorry, that's a lie...still not used to the weather yet! All in good time :) This week’s letter is kind of short and sweet, but I want you all to know that I know this Church is true and I love being a missionary!

Until next week! :)
Elder Steadman

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Reunions, a new comp, & an invitation

Hello everyone! Wow, so this week was amazing! So first of all, this week I had to go down to Phnom Penh again because my companion was ending his mission so I had to go and drop him off at the mission home and pick up my new companion! Not gonna lie, I was not looking forward to the trip all the way down to the city because it’s an 8, or sometimes 9, hour drive and I was not wanting to ride on a bus that long! haha But I quickly changed my mind when I found out that my companion from the MTC, Elder Quirante, was also going to be coming down to the city as well! Pretty much I have a small man crush on him and I was SO pumped to be able to see him because it's been a month and a half since I saw him last...wow that sounds like I'm dating him haha Oh well! :) Anyway, we got to hang out most of Friday in the mission home and go to lunch as well while we waited for our new companions to arrive! It was awesome! :) 

Blast from the past (i.e. MTC): Sister Jepson & Elder Q

After that I got a new companion! His name is Elder Sok (អែលឌើរ សុខ) He is so awesome! :) He does not know much English at all, but he has a really strong determination to learn so I am going to do everything I can to try and help him learn lots of English! He loves to laugh and I am finally decent enough at the language that I understand nearly all of his jokes so that's good! :) haha 

Elder Sok is from Cambodia & the only member in his family. He
has been a member 2 years, and on a mission for one of them! 

As far as other news goes, this week we got to watch General Conference! I was a little worried that I was not going to be able to understand as much as I wanted to… listening to it in Khmer, but my worries were for naught because all of the English missionaries got to listen to it in English! Wow- I was so pumped! And wow!! Conference was seriously so amazing! I think it would be kind of hard to say that I had a favorite talk, but I do have a few talks that I really liked! One of my very favorite talks that I really enjoyed listening to was given by Elder Bednar! He focused his talk DIRECTLY on people who were not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He talked about the reason why we spread the Gospel and the reason we are always trying to bring people the knowledge that we have! He hit it right on the head! It’s because it has blessed all of our lives so exceedingly that we want to go and have it help the lives of others as well! He had a story about his 2 sons playing outside and the younger son got hurt and scraped his arm. He explained how the older brother helped him inside and washed his wound of with pounds of dish soap! The litter brother did not like the cleansing one bit, but afterwards the older brother coated his little brother's arm with almost an entire tube of Neosporin and half the box of band aids. The younger brother enjoyed this feeling a lot more than the scrubbing that his brother did before! The little brother’s immediate reaction was to take the Neosporin and band aids and go apply it to all of his friends’ arms so they too could know how soothing it felt. This is the exact same for all of the members in the Church! In some way, all of us have felt the healing powers when we joined, or came to the knowledge of the truth of, this Church! When we feel these healing powers it is a human’s instant reaction, as you see in the story above, that we have a desire to go and share with our friends! He went on to explain that sometimes the way that we decide to share with our friends can be awkward or too straight forward or even relentless, but you have to know at the end of the day we are only spreading the news because WE LOVE YOU!!! That's the only reason! We love you and we want you to feel what we have felt and know what we have known! I share the same invitation that Elder Bednar gave to all at conference, "Come and see". I bear my testimony that it will be the greatest blessing of your life if you come with a willing heart and as an honest seeker of truth! I love this Gospel and I am so grateful every single day that my Heavenly Father has given me the knowledge of it! I love my mission and I love being able to serve the wonderful people of Cambodia! I wish you all the very best and most happy week!

ខ្ញុំស្រឡាញ់អ្នក ទាំងអស់គ្នា ( I love you all!)

Elder Steadman:)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Just another great day of being a missionary!

Love the "adventures... in store for me every day!"

Hello everyone:) Well, another amazing week here in Siem Reap! This week was the big split of our Branch! President Moon came down and did the split! We were super worried about church attendance because about 1 hour before church was about the start it just started down pouring! When we got to church and were waiting in the Sacrament room, we watched in amazement as more and more people made their way into the room! When I counted after Sacrament we had 213 people at church! The highest church attendance recorded in Siem Reap! It was soooo cool to see all of the members gathered together one last time! I'm not gonna lie, I was a little bit sad because I will no longer be proselyting in the area of some of the people that I have come to know and love. So it’s goodbye for now, but I am sure I will get to see some of them every once in awhile! 

As far as other exciting news that happened- this Sunday we had 3 baptisms! The baptismal service was very spiritual and I had the honor of giving one of my investigators baptism! They were all so ready and there is no better reward than seeing your investigators, the people you have come to know and love, dressed in all white:) So yeah, this Sunday was filled with lots of really great memorable events! As far as the update on the cool family that we found, three of them found work in Phnom Penh, which is sad because we will not get to keep on teaching them here, but it’s happy because they have been looking for work for a very long time and have not had any luck. When they were talking with us before they left, they shared with us the reason they think they have been able to find jobs. They said that receiving the knowledge about Jesus and having the opportunity to obey some of His commandments opened up the opportunity to receive blessings, and for that reason they were able to find jobs! They told us that they were going to continue to learn with the Elders in the city and attend the closest church to them! They are so awesome and I hope that everything works out for them! :) As far as the rest of the family, they are all still progressing and all came to church yesterday! :) 

Ok, so I do have one funny story for you all this week! So on Wednesday we went out to eat at this restaurant and as we were eating, there was a group of "women" that came and sat down right next to us. Well it turns out that these "women" came from Thailand, and at one point in their lives they were not "women" haha I hope you’re all catching my drift here:) haha Anyway, to be honest some of them would have fooled me! The only thing that gave it away was when they started talking...then it became quite obvious that these were not, in fact, women haha Unfortunately, some of them were very good at speaking English and spent the next 30 minutes complimenting my different features. Of course my companion thought that it was hilarious so he took his sweet time eating his meal! ha I could not get out of there fast enough! Anyway, when we left and were riding our bikes to the church, we passed a billboard and, up until that day, I had never noticed it. It was a billboard of a Broadway type play and all of the actors were standing together! Every time I passed that billboard before I thought that it was just a bunch of "women", but as I looked closer this time I realized that all of the "women" who were hitting on me in the restaurant were, in fact, the actors of that play! hahahaha I guess if you have to get hit on by cross dressers, they might as well be famous cross dressers! haha

Well that's all that I have for you this week folks! Love serving in Cambodia and having all the fun, different adventures that it has in store for me every day! Love you all! Have a great week! :)

Elder Steadman :)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A week full of miracles!

Hello everyone! Man this week was another week full of miracles! I don't really know where to start but I guess I will just start from Monday and go from there! ha So on Monday we were just having a regular p-day and then we got a call from one of the members and he told us that he had a referral for us and wanted to know if we could meet him later that evening. We agreed that we could meet at 4:00 and we would just end our p-day a little bit early! So at 4:00 we went to the member's house so he could take us to the house of the guy that wanted to learn with us and when we got the the investigator's house, he and his 9 OTHER RELATED FAMILY MEMBERS were all sitting down waiting for us to come and teach them! This was definitely one of the cooler pictures I have seen while in Cambodia and I will never be able to forget it! Oh and when I say 9 other related family members, I am referring only to adults! There were 7 kids and 2 or 3 are above the age of 8. It was the first time for some of the kids being up close to a white person and so they all just wanted to touch my skin haha and I think it was everyone's first time hearing a white person speak Khmer because for the first 5 minutes they all could not stop laughing because they thought it was so incredible haha. It's weird to think about, but up until this point in their lives they have never even been able to have a real conversation with a white person! So this was a cool new experience for them! Anyway, we taught them the first lesson and they were all so attentive and wanted to learn more! We invited them to be baptized at the end of the next month and they all accepted! We taught them 3 more times this week, including the Word of Wisdom because all of the 5 men struggle with drinking or smoking, but when we committed them if they would start to obey the Word of Wisdom they all said yes! SO AWESOME! They are all very poor and don't have transportation to get to Church but we explained the blessings of coming to church and invited all of them, including their kids, to come to church. Sure enough when Sunday came, not only did they come, but they came an hour early! haha So awesome!!!! They are all so ready to hear the gospel and with the faith that they have I know that they can overcome some of the addictions that they have right now! So that was the first miracle that happened this week! 

The second miracle that happened was that President Moon showed up this week for church and announced to our great surprise that Stake Siem Reap was going to be splitting into 2 Stakes!!!!!! WOW!!!!! We were all so shocked! Needless to say, none of us saw it coming and it was very well hidden! This was just another confirmation that the Church here in Cambodia is getting bigger and bigger every day! It's going to be a lot of work the next couple of weeks figuring out where we want to split it and making sure there are enough people in each stake, but it really is going to be so awesome and I think that it's going to help both stakes grow even more! 

I know what you're thinking right now... Elder Steadman, that's enough miracles for one week! Sorry I have one more! :) This week President also told us that in 2 weeks when this next transfer ends, we are going to be opening up 2 NEW AREAS!!! hahaha The names are Pursat and Prey Veng! I was so excited to hear about this!! It's going to be a lot of work opening up a new area, but also tons of fun as well! Lots of contacting and starting from scratch!!! How sick! :) I hope I get to go and serve in one of those Areas while they are still super new! :) Wow, this week has been so awesome! I try to express how happy I am in emails but it's so hard! You're only getting a small portion of how happy and excited I really am! We have some awesome investigators right now and I also get to see huge growth happening in Cambodia! I'm so very lucky to be serving here at this time! :) I love all of you so much and I hope that you have a great upcoming week! You are all in my thoughts and prayers! :) 

With love!
Elder Steadman

Monday, September 22, 2014

Power House Missionaries

Hello everyone! :) Another great week over here! To start the letter off this week I want to share with you all a little bit about Zone Conference! This week I had the opportunity to go to Battambong and receive some training! During this Zone Meeting we talked about being a "Power House Missionary". We talked about what an actual power house is (if you don't know you should look it up! ha) and then we talked about things that we can do to become a Power House Missionary! We came up with a formula for what it takes in order to be a Power House Missionary and that is Faith+Obedience=Power. I really like this and I believe 100% that it is true!! It is so important that we have faith! If we do not have faith in what we are doing or faith in our Heavenly Father, we are all out here just wasting out time! As humans we like to see evidence and then move in a certain direction, but with faith it asks us to step outside of that comfort zone… to walk a few steps in the dark. And then, once you have taken those few steps, you start to see the light! There are many examples in the scriptures where through faith people are able to see mighty miracles! The second part of the equation is obedience! Obedience is equally important as well! These are our Heavenly Father's children that we are talking to and teaching and if we are not being obedient to the rules that He has set for us as missionaries, He is not going to trust us with his precious children or the miracles that He has in store for us! So when we do these two things, when we are faithful and obedient, we will have power to preach the gospel with effectiveness and in a way that the people we teach will know that it is a message from God!

We also came up with 5 different points that we can look at each night to decide if we were a "Power House Missionary" for that day. Those are: Find, Teach, Baptize, Retain and Activate! If we are constantly trying to do these things then when we go to bed at night we can go to bed knowing that we are giving it our all! I loved Zone Conference this last week and I felt like I received so much information and inspiration on what I can be doing, and some things that I can start applying in my proselyting, so I can eventually become a "Power House Missionary"! So Zone Conference was amazing!

This week we did not have a lot of people show up to church because here in Cambodia it’s a 15-day holiday! ha Not sure what it’s called but it goes forever and so lots of the members went back to their homeland for those 15 days, so we are hoping by next week we will have lots of them come back home and be able to attend church! At church this week we had 2 people show up that want to start learning with us, so that was super cool! haha It really shows you how lucky I am to be serving here in Cambodia when people come up and contact me! haha This is the best mission ever :) Anyways we are looking really forward to meeting with them this upcoming week and hopefully they will have a desire to accept the gospel message we have for them!

Well that's pretty much all that I have for you all this week! I just want you all to know that I KNOW that this church is true! I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the church with the FULLNESS of Christ’s Gospel on the earth! I know we have a living prophet on the earth today and he receives help and guidance everyday from our loving Heavenly Father! I am so grateful to have the knowledge of this truth and feel so very honored to share this wonderful message with the people of Cambodia! I love you all so very much and hope you have a great week! Don't be too jealous! :) Try to enjoy America as much as I am enjoying Cambodia! :)

Good luck and I will talk to you all next week! :)

Elder Steadman

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Frog legs and humility

So.....frog actually does not taste that bad! haha Hello everyone! I hope you have all had as good of a week as I have had! :) For me it was just another week in missionary paradise haha, but here are a few specifics just so my mom does not kill me! :) First of all, at church this week we had four of our investigators receive the Holy Ghost! It truly was a special experience to be a part of and I felt like afterwards they even had a different countenance about them! One bummer was we did not have a lot of people attend church this week! My companion and I decided that we are going to try and work extra hard this upcoming week by contacting our less-actives and trying to meet with as many of them as we can, and then on Saturday night we are going to call everyone and invite them to come to church this Sunday so hopefully we can have some more people come to church and have the opportunity to take the Sacrament! Well I don't have a whole lot to share this week but if I leave it this short my mom might come to Cambodia and kill me:) 

Me: You really ate frog?
Austin: I ate 3 haha
Me: Shut up!!!!! 3 Frogs? So you didn't offend or because you really like frog? 
Me again: The whole frog... or frog legs?
Austin: Frog legs are the best part!!! At first not to offend and then it 
ended up being I actually liked them :)

So I want to share one more experience with you this week that was quite humbling for me! This week I caught myself in a very prideful moment! So we were at the village called Phum Singhae and it’s about an hour and 45 minutes away from our house, so needless to say it is a very long and very sweaty bike ride! haha Anyway, when we got there we came to meet this family (husband and wife) and they said hello to us but they were kind of busy sorting some fruit. My companion told me that we would just hang around until they were less busy so that we could teach them! So we waited around and 20 minutes later we decided to go and contact a little bit because they were still busy. So we went and contacted for 20 minutes and then came back, but they were still busy and we ended up waiting for another 20 minutes until they were all finished and ready for us to teach them! I remember I went into that lesson thinking to myself that this is the last time that I am going to come here! There are only 2 families that live this far and it’s just not worth it to bike all the way out here. I thought that they clearly did not have an interest in learning the gospel and we could be using our time in a lot better ways! Needless to say, heading into that lesson I did not have the Holy Ghost with me AT ALL!!! That lesson we had planned to teach on the Word of Wisdom and as we taught my companion did most of the talking because I was too busy being prideful and bugged. haha But then at the end of the lesson my companion committed him to stop smoking and guess what...he said yes! He said, “I know that what you’re teaching is true and I know it will help me in my life if I obey this commandment!” Boy did I feel like the scum of the earth! I was put in my place!! I had forgotten for a small moment the reason why I came! It was not to only help the people that are already super strong in the Gospel! It was also to help those who are not, and those who do not yet have a knowledge of the Gospel! Starting at that moment I made a commitment to myself that I would no longer judge people, but instead love them as Jesus would if He were in Cambodia serving a mission! I am not on my time anymore! I am on the Lord's time and I gained a stronger understanding for that this week! I am grateful to have a companion who was stronger than me that listened to the Spirit when it told him to wait just a little longer! It’s my new goal to be better at listening to the Spirit and being slower to judge people and quicker to love them! I'm so grateful to be gaining all of these experiences here in Cambodia and feel so blessed to be able to be on the Lord's Errand at this time in my life! I love all of you so much and hope you have an amazing week! All my love! 

Elder Steadman