Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Halfway through the MTC and still loving MOST of it

Hello everyone!! :) Man it seems like every P-Day is coming faster and faster and then my companion and I are like, "Oh crap we have not taken any pictures!” So we take a million on Tuesday haha :) Well I had one goal coming into this week's letter and that was to answer the questions that my dad had asked me this week in one of his Dear Elders! Well of course the one thing that I forgot to bring to the computer lab was the letter with all of those questions haha, so this week I will answer the two that I remember and then I will answer the rest next week :) So the questions that I remember are: what is the worst thing that has been served here at the MTC, and what is the one think that you wish you could eat!? So the first one would have to be the tater tot casserole surprise! I am next to positive that that has to be illegal!! hahaha I tried a bite of it and immediately had to repent because all I could think of was starting a riot against the lunchroom employees haha, but then I realized they probably hate eating it just as much as we do! Haha I actually found a scripture in the Bible that I feel describes the MTC food perfectly! It is found in Jeremiah 4:19 and it reads, "My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me..." haha I feel like that does a great job describing how great the food is here at the MTC :)  Ok, the other question is by far the easiest to answer!!! I miss Chick-Fil-A more than life itself!!! haha Sometimes I will catch myself day dreaming about being at Chick-Fil-A! hahaha I hope so much that wherever I fly to before I fly to Asia, they have one of those in the airport!! 

Umm ok, I have another funny story!! So this week, we (the 3 Cambodians) have been practicing singing a song for Sacrament meeting in a couple weeks and Sister Jepson and I were put to the task of teaching Elder Quirante how to sing!! This was maybe one of the funniest things that we have done so far here at the MTC! Elder Q is good at so many things it’s ridiculous!! Like everything he tries to do he figures it out! The only thing is…Elder Q has never tried to sing in tune! haha We kept on telling him to hit notes that we were singing and he could not for the life of him figure out which notes we were singing hahaha :) Finally we had a break through!! If I sang right into is ear he could hit the note better than he originally could! So we practiced that for a while and then I slowly started moving further and further away from his ear and now, as long as I sing with him, he can hit the notes! We haven't quite gotten to the point where he can just hit them all by himself!! haha But we will! And our song sounds sooooooo cool!!! We are going to perfect it and then I think I am going to have one of the Elders record it so I can send it to all of you back home :) To get back at me Elder Q has made me start working out again....this is not fun!! I don’t understand how I liked doing this at one point in my life! ha I am hoping that if I keep pushing myself that eventually it will be fun again, but as of right now I am pretty much hating every minute of it! 

Well I am sorry I don’t have a lot to share this week, but before I go I will just share a quick scripture thought with you. The chapter that I pretty much spent this entire week studying was 2 Nephi 27 and for some reason reading this time around, the importance and power of this chapter literally hit me like a ton of bricks!! This chapter talks about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and it speaks of Joseph Smith and how this "un-learned" man would be able to bring forth the most important book revealed to us in this dispensation!! I want to share a couple of verses with you! Verses 29 and 30 read, "And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of the darkness. And the meek also shall increase, and their joy shall be in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." Those verses are so unbelievably powerful! It’s amazing to me that I am helping to fulfill some prophesies that are in this book that was written so long ago! They saw us; they saw us going to spread the word to the people who have not yet seen it and the poor who need happiness and reason to rejoice in their lives!! How blessed am I?!! It’s not every day that you get to read in the scriptures and say, "Hey! I’m helping fulfill that prophesy that Nephi is talking about!" I am so lucky that I get to go share this message of happiness in a country with much heartache!! Every once and a while I will catch myself wondering if this is even possible, if I really can do this, or if I should just go home and be with the people that I love. My teacher shared a thought with us yesterday that I won’t ever forget. He told us that there will be people on our missions that only Elder Steadman will be able to touch their hearts or only Elder Quirante. We know that everyone will have the chance to hear the message, whether it be in this life or the next, but I don’t think that I could ever forgive myself for not going to Cambodia and giving those people the opportunity to hear the gospel in this life just because I miss my Mommy and Daddy. The people of Cambodia need me more than I need my mom and dad! I know that this mission will sculpt me into the person that I want to be in my life!! I’m so grateful Heavenly Father trusted me with these people that He loves so much! I don't mean to say that Heavenly Father loves any of his children more than another, but I think that the Cambodians have a very special place in His heart because whenever I pray for them, or we talk about them, the Spirit is always so strong!! I love you all and I’m so grateful for all the love I have received here at the MTC!!!! The journey here is almost over and then that’s when the real fun begins!! Love you all so much! 

Until Next time :)
Elder Steadman

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Surgical escapades and the gift of prayer

Well I hope everyone has had pretty close to the same week I have had! Minus the 10 hours of class time every day getting taught in another language! ;) haha But seriously this week has been great!! To be honest I can't really put my finger on why it has been so great, but all I can say is that it's been a great week :) I guess I will start out with the bad news of the week so then my letter doesn't seem so depressing! :) So this week I developed an ingrown toenail and I tried to avoid doing anything about it but as the week was continuing on it was getting progressively worse and worse! Finally it got to the point where I told my companion how much it was hurting....not a good idea! haha He assured me that he knew how to fix the problem and got out his sewing kit...that was the first sign that he had no idea what he was doing! haha He then took out a spoon-like tool and grabbed my foot. I grabbed the elder’s hand sitting next to me and then Elder Q. dug out my toenail so that it was no longer in my skin but laying on top of my skin! He did a great job but it hurt like crazy!!! It's a lot better today though so I think that he just might have done the trick!! Who knew I had a doctor for a companion!? What a stud :)

The surgeon himself :)
Ok good news- so this week Elder Q. and I decided that we wanted to try and do an entire day speaking only Khmai! It was so hard haha…we lasted until about 3:00 and then we were so exhausted from trying to think of words that we just spoke Piasai Angle :) (English), but it was fun to try!! :) Eventually we will be able to go a whole day before we leave the MTC!!! As far as the language goes, it is coming!!! I just can’t wait till I can become a little more fluent because the more I listen to it the cooler it sounds! We have gotten pretty good at understanding our teacher, which is super nice because I don’t feel like I am playing charades all day haha!

One spiritual experience I had this week was (of course) at the devotional! So the speaker’s name was Brother Foster of the Quorum of the Seventy and he gave an amazing talk! His talk was on prayer, but throughout the entire talk he shared with us over and over again just how much our Heavenly Father loves us! I mean of course I know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves and cares about me, but every once and awhile I think sometimes we accidentally forget or lose sight of just how much He loves us!! He has given us prayer!!! Prayer is so huge! Without prayer we would not be able to talk to our Father in Heaven at all!! If He wanted us to just come to Earth and figure everything out on our own than He would not have given us this great gift! The power of prayer is so real!! I learned this week that sometimes when we say a prayer we are just speaking in our heads and not really taking into consideration who we are talking to! We are literally talking to a God!! How blessed we are to have the knowledge that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us so much and has given us a way that we can return again to His presence!! What a blessing!! As I was leaving the Devotional the words to a hymn came to my head. The words were, "Because I have been given much, I too must give!" I felt the Spirit stronger than I have felt it in my entire life! I knew, in that very moment, that my Heavenly Father knew me. He didn’t just know that I was one of His children; He knew that my name was Austin Joel Steadman and I was preparing to go serve the people of Cambodia. He knows my difficulties and He knows what I need help with, but He is not just going to give it to me! I need to pray! I need to study my butt off and do all I can do to be the best missionary that I can be and then He will come and finish what I cannot do alone. He loves me and I know that He loves me! I’m so blessed to be able to have that knowledge and I cannot wait to go share it with the humble people of Cambodia! They deserve to know that just as much as I do and because I have been given much then I will go give! I bear testimony that God knows each and every one of you! I KNOW that He knows our struggles. I know that He knows our names and where we are at in our lives and I promise you that He does not love any one of us more than the other one!! He is our Father in Heaven and loves all His children equally! My prayer this week is that you will go to Him in prayer. That no matter where you are at with your relationship with God, you will pray to Him this week! Let him know how you are doing! Let Him know what you could use some help on, ask in faith, nothing wavering, and God will come, and He will bless you. This is my testimony and I KNOW all of these things to be true!! I love you all so much and love all of the support that you have given me thus far!! Thank you so much for everything!! 

All my love,
Elder Steadman

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A new calling and a little nudge

Well, another week down!!! So crazy!! The MTC is seriously the biggest roller coaster of my life!!! Especially when we have meetings with our investigators! I feel like my comp and I are learning the hard way how to teach in a second language haha. Our teachers portray people that they met on their missions so they have a solid role to play! These past couple weeks we have had two investigators and their names are Bong Visna and Bong Thaa. So we have been teaching them and we both felt like our lessons were going really good and we felt like they were understanding what we are saying, but we soon found out that they did not haha :) Our teacher talked to us in class and explained that Cambodians are extremely proud and when they don't know what is going on they do not really want to embarrass themselves, so they will just agree with whatever you are saying and not really know what you're saying because some of the words you are using are words they have never heard before! For example: Jesus Christ. Haha- so that was some frustrating news but we have just decided to start from square 1 with these investigators and ask lots of questions so that they will have a better understanding of what we are teaching them! Our teachers have decided that we cannot take any notes anymore. We just have to go in with what we know and that has to be good enough, so that's kind of intense as well, but it's a good intense :) It's definitely coming more from the heart rather than just writing things down on a piece of paper and reading them off to them. Overall it's just a lot of ups and downs!! One positive thing about the investigators is Bong Thaa committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about the truthfulness of it!!! IT WAS SO AWESOME!!!! The Spirit was so crazy strong and when we got out of that meeting we were dancing around and doing our handshake that we made up hahaha!

As far as other news goes, this Sunday we were both asked to be the Zone Leaders for our Zone here at the MTC! I know- I am as surprised as you are haha ;) Of course we accepted the calling!! It really is going to be so easy because I absolutely love everyone in my Zone and we all get along really well so I don't think there will be too much "MTC drama" here! But I guess you never know! We are both super excited about the calling though!! We feel like it will only help us become better missionaries and set a good example for the other missionaries that are in our Zone. We are also excited to get to work closely with our Branch Presidency! They are such awesome men and show so much love and compassion for all of the missionaries! It's so awesome!! :) 

Ok, so I have one spiritual experience that I was not planning on sharing but I feel impressed that I should share it with you. So this Sunday we had the opportunity to go to a devotional and we heard from Brother and Sister Warner! He is really high up in the Church, but I can't for the life of me remember what his calling is! I'm sorry!! Anyways, so I was super tired on Sunday and as we were singing the opening song I was having a really hard time keeping my eyes open so I knew that it was going to be a long night ha! I was trying as hard as I could to stay awake, but as Sister Warner got up to speak I could not keep them open any longer!! I was out for the count!! No one noticed that I was sleeping because we got out of class late so we were sitting on the very top row. Anyways, I was asleep for what I would guess would be 5 minutes when I felt someone tap me twice under my left armpit. I immediately looked up and looked behind me and looked at my companion (who was leaning forward on the right side of me). I asked him if he tapped me underneath my left armpit and he looked at me like a crazy person haha! I couldn't have been more confused about what I had just felt, but I was only confused for a few moments. It was no more than 10 seconds from when I had been woken up that Sister Warner started talking about how she had recently been to the country of Cambodia, and continued to share some of her experiences while in the country. I was overwhelmed by the Spirit. I knew in that moment that the Lord knew that I needed to hear about her experiences and so He sent one of His angels to come and wake me up so I could hear the message that she had to share about the wonderful people of Cambodia. I like to think that Grandpa was sitting in the seat to the left of me and he gave me a little nudge to wake me up so I could hear the wonderful testimony of Sister Warner. I know that angels are all around us! I gain a stronger testimony of that every day! So happy to be where I am at today! The mission is so crazy hard but then you have experiences like that, it is so crazy worth it!! I love you all and am so thankful for the letters that you all have sent me!! I know that this is the church of God and cannot wait to go share the Gospel with the humble people of Cambodia!!

I love you all! Until next week :)
Elder Steadman :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fried brain, jello, and a Cambodian flag

Hello everyone!!!

Wow this week has gone by so fast! It seems like it was just yesterday that I was writing you all for the first time and now look! It's been 2 times!!! Time just flies!!! hahaha not!!! The MTC is awesome but I will tell you one thing- my brain has never tried to work so hard in its entire life!!! I honestly feel bad for it!!! Like I gave it no preparation for what it was about to undergo! I think it's mad at me right now because it won't retain all of the information that I need it to, but I am sure that it will forgive me eventually!! :) HMM Well I don't know if you guys know this or not but we pretty much do the same thing here at the MTC every day, every week, every hour! haha We learn and sit and then we eat and then we learn and sit and then we eat and repeat that process all day long!!! The food is getting a little painful to be honest! I mean its not like it's changed but I just know if I keep eating what I am eating I am going to be 300 pounds when I walk out of here...or roll out haha. My companion though has managed to find a way to cheer us up in the lunch room! Whenever they are serving jello he will cut the jello from out of the cup and then put it on his tray and then he just sucks the entire thing of jello up in his mouth and swallows it whole! It is just about the funniest thing that you have ever seen! So my favorite days are when they are serving jello! :) Umm, let's see...probably the coolest thing that happened this week was the devotional just this last Tuesday! The speaker's name was Marcos Aiduraitis...or something along those lines haha, but he was seriously the best speaker that I think I have ever heard!! He was so funny and he talked about how the field is ready to be harvested!! I really like that because lots of times you hear that we just need to go and plant seeds! And although that is really important, the scriptures tell us that the field is white all ready to be harvested!! So we need to have courage- be more courageous and more like the trumpet that it speaks of in the scriptures!! :) Don't be afraid to ask people to get baptized!! He also baptized his wife before they were ever together and he told us, "Learn how to baptize on your just might come in handy one day!" hahahaha I lost it!! He was so funny!! I encourage everyone to read D&C 31: 4-7. It's a great scripture!! :)

Reassuring themselves they are "strong" enough to do hard things?
So my Zone is beyond sick!!! Like seriously, I am getting so nervous to leave everyone!! I don't want to leave my district!!! Yesterday our Zone leaders came in to our room and gave us a pass me down, which is just a thing we do in the MTC where you leave stuff for other districts!! It's cool :) Anyways, they came into our room and they gave us a big Cambodian Flag and it is SO SICK!!! We haven't found a good place to hang it up yet but we will :) We have new investigators starting today so I will let you all know how that goes :) Me and my companion are still best buddies!! Realizing more and more each day just how blessed we have been to have each other as companions!! He keeps me laughing pretty much all day which is so nice because then I don't think about home too much! :) Well I'm sorry the letter isn't super long this week- we just have not done anything too eventful! haha We made it a goal this week though to try and do something cool that we can write about so I hope that works out :)

Before I go I want to say thank you really fast to the people that wrote me letters this week!! Hailey- thanks so much for your letter- that was so nice of you! Grammy- I love you tons and I am writing you a letter and will be sending it to my house real soon!! :) Papa and Grandma- thanks so much for your letter and the funny sentences that you attached to it! We all loved them haha :) Aub tell Kade that it was so nice to get a letter from him and I hope that he is just slaying sin out there in.... Crap- I forgot where he is at. haha Told you my brain is fried! Anyways, mom you are so clutch with all the packages!! Just have to tell everyone real quick.....I HAVE THE BEST MOM IN THE WORLD!!!!! Miss you tons and I sure do miss my Dadio too:) Miss all of our sporting events we used to watch and go to!! You really don't know what you've got until it's gone!! haha But that's ok. I'll be back soon enough to watch some more! :) Thanks for your letter Jas!! :) I will definitely be writing you soon!! Hannah and Aub- thanks so much for your letters that you wrote to me as well! They were a big time pick me up!! And LUKE!!!! Thanks for your Dear Elders big guy!! You have to write me on email so I can have your email because I forgot what it is! But we will be able to talk soon!! :) Keep doing good, buddy, and don't be breaking too many girls' hearts!! :):) Dani- thanks so much for the package :) you made my week and it was so nice to be able to hear your voice!! :):) I love all of you who have shown your support for me being out here!! You are seriously so awesome! Couldn't have a better support group! Can't wait to write you all again!! You are all in my prayers!!! 

All My Love,
Elder Steadman
Austie :)