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 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 :)