Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pioneer Day... Cambodian style

Hello Everyone! This week has gone by super fast!! So this week I have had lots of super awesome things happen to me, but to start out I will talk about the fun things that have happened:) So this week we had the Pioneer Activity! This is something that our ward has been practicing for over a month now! A part of the activity is a play that reenacts the life of Joseph Smith and the things that he did while on the earth. I was cast in the role of Oliver Cowdery and this was just an absolute blast!! There is a part in one of the scenes where a whole bunch of bad guys come busting into the room where Joseph Smith and I are and just start beating us up and then they pick us up and take us away! In the rehearsals they told me to make it look like I really did not want to go and to struggle really hard to not let them take me, but every time I did that they had a hard time taking me! haha So I found a good medium to where it looked like I was struggling but it also didn’t look like I was throwing Cambodians off of me :) haha Anyways the play was just super super fun and it came together really nice I thought! After the play there were some people that had some other performances, which were super fun to go and watch! One of the coolest one was a kid that knew how to beat box! It was unbelievable!! He is not a member of our church but he is a friend of one of our members and now he wants to start learning from the Elders so that’s pretty awesome! :) Overall the activity was an absolute blast and it was fun to be able to be with all the ward members in less formal setting and be able to have fun and laugh with all of them:) 

Ok, now for the cool story! So this week we were teaching a family and they are a super strong family and they come to church every week, but this last week there was a rumor spread that they had killed a chicken that did not belong to them and in Cambodia that’s a pretty big deal because they are super honest and trustworthy people! Anyways they were really frustrated with the situation and they were also getting made fun of a little bit by people that they did not even really know! So when we went over to their house this week on Tuesday they expressed to us that they no longer had a desire to go to church and that they didn’t want to go because they were just going to get crap from other members. We tried to console them and help them as best as we could, but they were super frustrated so there was not much that we could do. We ended up leaving the lesson super frustrated too because we felt like we were not really able to help them out as much as we would have like to! For the rest of that day we were both a bit down and were still not sure what we should do, so we prayed and we just felt like we should give it some time and then go visit them in a couple of days! So that’s what we did, and when we came back to visit them on Thursday the wife shared with us an amazing story. She told us that when she went to sleep that night she dreamed that she saw Christ and that he told her that she needed to go back to church and that’s where she belonged, and that she needed to stay strong for the rest of her life. When she told us this story we were overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for our Heavenly Father! It really made me remember that we are just very small tools in the Lord's hands in bringing people to the knowledge of His truth! I gained a stronger testimony in the fact that Heavenly Father knows each of his children personally and knows what they need in order to feel loved by Him! I also learned that I need to trust in my Heavenly Father more! Sometimes I feel like when I cannot fix something then there is no way that it can possibly get fixed by anyone else, but that is so wrong! It was a good lesson for me to learn that He is the real person in charge and when it’s out of our control that’s when we have to pray our very hardest for His help! This week has truly been a blessing to me and I have learned so much from it! I love being able to serve my mission in Cambodia and to be able to spend my time with the wonderful people here! I still don’t think there is a place in the world with happier people than the people here in Cambodia:) I am so very, very lucky! I appreciate all of your love and support as well, and I will talk to you all next week:)

Elder Steadman:)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"The hardest thing I have ever loved to do!!"

Hello Everyone! Well another great week on the other side of the world! :) I wish that I had tons to talk about this week, but there was nothing really crazy that happened! Or there were lots of crazy things that happened and I am just starting to get used to how crazy things are! haha I am not sure which one it is :) But one thing that was fun that I got to do this week was go and play soccer! Last Monday when we got done emailing we found a place that only charges 5 bucks an hour to play soccer and it’s like a super legit field! So we got some Elders and some Members and went out and played some soccer! I don’t think I have ever sweated so hard in my life! haha Playing in 100 percent humidity makes the sport 100 times harder!! haha But it was super fun to be able to try to learn how to use my feet!! I give mad props to my bro Luke! I hear he is just tearing it up in soccer now days and I am very uncoordinated with my feet to say the least!

Another fun thing that we did this week was Special Activities Night! I don’t know if I have told you this yet, but every Wednesday we teach an English class for an hour and a half! It is super fun! :) Anyways, every 6 weeks we do something called a Special Activities Night where all of the missionaries plan a fun activity and we combine all of the classes and do fun activities!! So the activity that my companion and I planned was a sports broadcast about the FIFA World Cup! So all of the members talked about FIFA so we were able to kind of know what happened, and then we made a sportscast on what we had heard happened. The goal for the students was to listen to us speak, and then we had given them a list of questions that were answered in the broadcast, so they had to try to listen to us and find the answers to the questions! It went pretty good except for we had some facts wrong, which confused them a little bit I think! haha So on some of our questions they did not hear us say it, but they already knew the right answer, so they just wrote that down instead haha… we took both answers as correct :)

District pic :)

Other than that this week has been pretty normal! My companion got to do a surprise baptism yesterday! It was the Sisters’ investigator and they forgot to ask her who she wanted to baptize her, and she just pointed straight at my companion! We had to run home to grab some clothes for him and then he was able to do that, so that was pretty cool to see! It’s always such a blessing to be able to watch someone get baptized and enter into that wonderful covenant with their Heavenly Father! Next week we have something called the Pioneer Activity and I am playing the role of Oliver Cowdery, so I hope that I will have a little bit more to talk to you all about next week. 

For now I just want you all to know that I love my mission so very much and I feel so very blessed to be serving here in Cambodia! I also want everyone to know that I know that this Church is true!! I am so lucky that Heavenly Father gave me this knowledge and also gave me the opportunity to come and just focus on loving the people of Cambodia for 2 years! It’s the hardest thing I have ever loved to do!! :):) I love my mission and I love the Gospel!! I hope everyone has a great week! Don’t forget we are all missionaries! Share with someone this week about what you believe in! The very best investigators are the ones who already have a friend in the church to welcome them in! The Lord needs everyone to help spread His work across all the corners of the earth! Love you all so much!

Elder Steadman:)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Stayin' in Stung Meanchey baby!

Hello everyone! I feel like I am always surprised each week at just how fast these Mondays keep coming! I am running out of information here folks!!! ha This week was another great life for a missionary!! Yesterday we had transfer calls come in and I found out that I am staying in the area that I am in and I will be working with my companion until he goes home! I was SUPER excited about this because I absolutely love my area and I also love my companion, so it’s pretty much a win-win situation for me right now! :) And this week we were able to find a lot of new people to teach which is super nice because that should keep us busy for the next couple of weeks!

My funny story for the week is we were teaching a group of 4 new investigators that belong to a different Christian church and we were teaching them about Christ's earthly ministry and the things that he did while he was on the earth. I started talking about how he died for all of us so we could live with him again someday. But in all reality I said, "Jesus Christ killed all of us so that we can live with him again someday." They were a little confused at my statement so my companion helped translate. haha Killed and died are similar words here! haha So that was a little embarrassing but I got over it! :)

The cool thing that happened this week was I got to watch one of my investigators get baptized! Her name is Sopia and she is super awesome! Her whole family is already members, but when they got baptized she was just not ready and did not want to commit to something that she did not believe with all of her heart, which I respect so much! We still kept on teaching her and coming over to her house to see if she needed anything. We committed her a couple of times with no success, but then one day she received an answer to her prayers and she knew that this was the true Church and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. So ever since that day she has been coming to church and this week she got baptized by her husband, which was so cool to see! It really is crazy watching people progress from having no interest in changing their lives to having their hearts softened and having enough faith to take that leap! 

This whole experience being here in Cambodia has already blessed my life beyond words!! One thing that I have realized this week is that Heavenly Father has given me so many blessings even though I do not really think sometimes that I deserve them! I am so grateful that Heavenly Father gave me the knowledge of this gospel! Honestly, I do not know what I did do deserve all that Heavenly Father has given me in my life so far, but I am so grateful to Him! I am grateful to have a knowledge of this gospel and to be able to have a knowledge of what I need to do in this short life in order to live with my Heavenly Father forever! I love teaching the people of Cambodia! Even though my speaking is awful and most of the time I just smile and laugh cause I don’t know what is going on, I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to do something as wonderful as a mission! I know that it is sculpting me into the person that I want to be for the rest of my life, and without these experiences I would not be able to grow and learn as fast as I am. I know from the very bottom of my heart that a mission is the very best thing that any young man could do to benefit him in the years coming! There is not any other place I would rather be right now! Sure, I miss my family and sometimes things are hard, but how lucky am I that for 2 years I get to do nothing but just worry about other people! It has given me such a new perspective on life and the things that I want to accomplish while in this life! MISSION LIFE IS THE BEST LIFE!! I love you all so very much and appreciate all of your love and support you have all given me!

Until Next week:)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Unexpected transfers and a special baptism

Hello everyone!! So another week down! This week was kind of crazy though, so buckle your seatbelt!! ha So the beginning of the week was just normal as usual. Just doing some mad work here in the Kingdom of Cambodia! Thursday was the day it all started to change! So I was in my room just getting ready for the day and I was standing by the fan drying off the inside of my poncho, when the other elders who live with us came busting into our room and one of them yells, "What in the world is going on?" I just stared at him really confused. He says again, "What in the world is going on!?" I proceeded to tell him that I was drying my poncho with the fan. I realize it is kind of a weird concept... drying a poncho... but I was not expecting quite the reaction I was getting out of him! He then said, "No, not the poncho! Emergency transfers! Elder Lao (my companion) is going to Siem Reap and Elder Schleede (one of the elders I live with) is your new companion." We all just kind of stood around and looked at each other for a while in disbelief at what was going on. After a few minutes of awkward silence we were just like, "Ok, well time to get to work again!" ha So Elder Lao spent a little bit of time packing up his stuff and then the next day he headed out to Siem Reap (a 7 hour drive), and Elder Schleede and I are now companions!!

The funniest part of this whole thing is that Thursdays are when we have our weekly planning sessions where we plan who we are going to meet throughout the week and all that kind of stuff. Right after we finished, Elder Lao looked at me and said, "Ok, if I were to leave tomorrow do you think that you would be able to do all of this by yourself?" Of course I answered a confident yes... haha be careful what you say everyone!! God will put you to the test if you're too confident sometimes! haha So at the beginning I was super stressed out about being able to remember everyone and make sure that everything and everyone got remembered, but the Lord has really helped me to remember the people that we need to meet and the things we need to teach and also the way to get to people's houses!! ha It's been a huge testimony builder for me and even though it's a little scary sometimes, I know that the Lord is currently molding me into the missionary that He wants me to be!

So about my new comp! His name is Elder Schleede! He is almost done with his mission... he has about 2 months left, and he is one of the hardest workers I have ever met! This is yet another blessing that Heavenly Father has given to me! He knows the language super well and he basically spends his entire language study time to help me understand and learn the language! He is super Christlike and I know if I can soak up all the experience and counsel I can from him while I get to be his companion, he will help me become a lot better missionary!

Ok, last bit of news for this week!! So this week I had the amazing opportunity to baptize one of our investigators!!! Her name is Banyaa! She has been an absolute rock star and has completely and totally changed her life to become closer to Christ! It has truly been humbling to watch and I felt incredibly honored that she asked me to baptize her!! The coolest part of the story is that she was my very first lesson in Cambodia! Not a lot of people get to say that :) The Lord does not cease to bless me! I say it every week :) I am so lucky to be serving here!! I love the people and I love my mission! Thanks so much for all of your love and support! Until next week!

Elder Steadman

Elder Schleede, Banyaa, & Elder Steadman