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 :)