Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!!!

Hello everybody!! Well, I hope that everyone had a very merry Christmas!!!:) I really can't complain at all because I got to Skype with my family and see some of my buddies this Christmas!!:) It really does not get much better that that for me!!:) It was so good to see everyone's faces!! It's been too long! The only bummer of that day was I had food poisoning and had a total of 23 bathroom visits in less than a day!! Haha look at me just constantly trying to break my records that I don't ever want to break! I felt bad for my family because I was not 100% there, but just know that I am all healed up now and feeling better than ever!!:)

This week was super fun, but we were not really able to visit with a whole lot of our investigators because we were constantly caroling and making treats and sending them out to people and also just visiting everyone! Lots of visiting, but not a whole lot of lessons! But that's ok because I think that this week we still were able to help people and show our love for them through our visits!!:) Christmas day was super fun because Elder Quirante was able to come down to the city! The area that he is in does not have any computers that can Skype, so he got special permission from President to be able to come down to the city and have Christmas with my Zone!! :) He slept over at my house on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas Day we all woke up and worked out on top of our house and then got ready for the day. Then we went to this huge mall that is in the city and they had a bowling alley inside the actual mall! It was insane! So we went bowling and... of course, I won;) Not that that's important or anything, but I had bragging rights for the rest of the day! Haha then I bought some athletic shoes for when I go home and then in the late afternoon we went over to the mission home because President and Sister Christensen were in charge of catering Christmas dinner for our Zone! All of my Zone and Quirante and his comp met at the mission home and we got to watch a video of compiled pics of 2015 and it was so awesome! I was surprised to see that the very last pic of the whole slideshow was of me doing that karate kick with the sunset in the background!! Haha I was so pumped!!:) Then we ate all together and the food was super good except for the fact that I am pretty sure that it gave me food poisoning, but oh well! You win some, you lose some, right!? Then the next day I got to Skype my family and like I said, that was just amazing! On Sunday we went to church and had 4 investigators show up as well, so that was super awesome to see!!:) Then that evening we went and visited some of the investigators that weren't able to make it to church and that was pretty much it for our Sunday!

This week I feel like a whole bunch of stuff happened, but then when I write it out I feel like not a whole lot happened. I guess you'll have to trust me when I say that it was a very busy and yet very fun week for us here!!:) It will also be kind of nice to be able to get back into a more regular schedule with the Christmas season coming to an end, but it sure has been a blast while it lasted! I love being a missionary around the Christmas season! I think that I am really going to miss it next year at this time!! I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have of a loving Savior coming to this earth to take upon him my sins and everyone's sins so that we can repent and return and live with Him again! It's the greatest gift that anyone could ever receive and it's the reason that I am out here on a mission… to share about this amazing gift with a people that in my opinion deserve it more that anyone! I love the people here in Cambodia and want all of them to receive knowledge of a Heavenly Father who loves them with a love unimaginable to the human mind! I want them all to have the very best because they deserve it! I am so lucky to have been able to come and serve among these amazing people! I could not have asked for a better place to serve! I thought I would be repaying my Heavenly Father in a small way by coming on a mission, but once again he has just poured out his blessings upon me while being out here on my mission and I am forever indebted to Him for this opportunity and experience of a lifetime! I will never be able to deny the things and experiences that I have had out here! I know with all of my heart that this church is true and it truly is the Church of Jesus Christ and that He truly does stand at the head of it. I know we are led by modern-day prophets and that they receive inspiration from on high to lead and guide His church. I love this gospel! It's a perfect gospel and I am so grateful for the knowledge of it! I love you all so much and hope you have a very happy New Year! Do something exciting and light a couple fireworks off for me!!:)

Much love headed your way!!
Elder Steadman






Homemade gym equipment :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Spreading love and the Christmas spirit

Hello everybody!! Well, another amazing week down in the books!! :) I don't really know where to start this week because there were a lot of really fun things that happened, but I guess I will start off with last p-day! So Monday we went shopping and I found some really cool Nike shoes and got a pair of them for my birthday! Then after that, we went to a place called the Pizza Company for lunch! It's really expensive, but it was soooo worth the price because it was delicious!!:) After we went there we went to a driving range and for the first time in almost 2 years I got to hit a bucket of balls!!:) It was an absolute blast!!!!:) It was so relaxing and I had the time of my life! Then Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty regular days! We just went out and taught lots of our investigators and members, which is always awesome!! We had a couple investigators move out of our area this week which was really sad, but hopefully they will continue to learn with the elders in their new area!!:)

Thursday was my birthday and my companion surprised me with a gift! He bought me shoes!! At the Nike shop I was trying to decide between these two pairs and when I finally decided, he secretly bought me the other pair that I really liked! He is so awesome! I was super surprised because I did not see him leave my sight for one second! But then he told me he had written on a sticky note and given it to one of the workers asking him to put the pair of shoes in his bag and he said he would pay them for it when I was not looking! What a stud! Then I got another surprise when a member from one of my old areas sent me a birthday cake! Haha she lives super far away so she had it sent by car and then asked one of her friends that lives pretty close to me to bring it to my house! So that was another cool surprise! To top things off, that night I got to dress up like Santa Claus and go Christmas caroling!! It was so fun! I had a big bag of treats and we went to visit some of the less active members of the ward and as we drove from house to house we sang the Khmer version of Jingle Bells, and then when we got to each house we sang Joy to the World and then Silent Night! It was super awesome and I cannot think of a better way to have spent my last birthday here in Cambodia then to have dressed up like Santa Claus and spread love and the Christmas spirit to the wonderful members here!!:)

Then on Saturday we had our Stake Christmas party! It was so much fun! It was just s full day of dancing and singing and performances of every kind, and then at the end they had some good things to eat! President Christensen came to the party as well!! When everyone was done eating they all started to dance… but it's not the same dancing as in America! It's a little more traditional ha :) You basically just move your hands around a lot and that means you can dance like a Cambodian! Anyway, I went up to President and told him he had to come and dance with me! He told me that he had already danced, but I did not accept no for an answer!! Haha so President, Sister Christensen and I all headed to the dance floor to do some Khmer traditional dancing! Haha once the other missionaries saw that President and I were dancing, they all joined in around us as well!! Haha we danced all together for a couple of minutes and then headed out to enjoy watching the members dance around! It was overall a super fun Christmas party!:) Then on Sunday we had church and we had 3 investigators show up this week, which was super awesome, and the best part was they all stayed for all 3 hours!!:) After church we all went caroling again, but this time Elder Riches dressed up as Santa Claus!!:) He is way too ripped to be Santa though haha!! We went to this cute old lady's house and she just started to cry and give all of us hugs as we were singing to her! It was seriously the cutest thing ever and the Spirit was super strong!! It was a great way to end a great Sunday, and a great week for that matter!!

I am not gonna lie, I am super excited to be able to Skype my friends and family this week! I can't believe the time is already here to see my family's cute faces again! And all my friends’ ugly faces!!:) Just kidding guys! Anyway, that's pretty much all that I have for you all this week! I love this work so much and I LOVE the people of Cambodia with all of my heart! I would not have picked anywhere else in the world to come and serve than right here! It truly is the best mission in the whole world! Please pray that the hearts of the people here will continue to be opened and that they will accept the wonderful message that we have to share with them! I love you all so much!!

ដោយសេចក្តីស្រលាញ់
Elder Steadman

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Stocking up, "seeds", and reunions

Hello everybody!! It's already that time of the week again! Crazy!! Well, this week as usual we are going to be crazy busy so I don't have a ton of time to give you a big long run down, but I will do my best to tell you a little bit about what went down! Last Monday was INSANE!! The house I moved into was missing a ton of house appliances (stuff like a microwave and toaster and pans and tupperware and a slow cooker), so my companion and I made a huge list of everything that we had to get on p-day and it was a full page front and back of different items to buy and errands we had to do, and guess what!? We did it! But almost at the cost of our lives!! We were running around Phnom Penh ALL day and by the end I was seriously so exhausted!! One of the most exhausting days of my whole mission! But it was super worth it because now we have all of the stuff that we really need in the house! Apparently, the senior missionary couple had been begging the Elders before me to go out and buy some of that stuff, but no one wanted to do it so I guess I was the man that was up to the challenge! Mainly because I can't survive without all that stuff haha!!

Anyway, Monday was crazy and then Tuesday was good because we got to meet a lot of less actives and invite them to come to church! All of the members are super awesome here and super welcoming even if they don't want to come to church! I love it so much! On Wednesday we had our English class! It was really fun! There are not a whole lot of people that come to the class, but the people that do come always have a blast!!:) Oh, and then on Friday we had a pretty cool experience! Earlier in the week we were contacting and we met this really cool couple and she was already a member of a different church, but when we asked them if we could come back and teach them a lesson about what we believe, she invited us back to her house! So on Friday we went back over to their house and we taught them the first lesson, and we had some really good member help with us as well, and the lesson went super good! She was a little bit skeptical about Joseph Smith, but she loved the fact that she did not need to just take our word for it that what we were telling her was true, but that she could pray to Heavenly Father and He would be the one to tell her if it was true or not! Then we asked if we could come back again another day and they accepted! They also told us that they have been contacted by the missionaries lots of times before, but have always politely declined; but this time when we contacted them they felt like they should learn with us! I was very flattered and at the same time I was also very grateful for the dedicated Elders that served before me! They were the ones that planted the seeds! It makes me feel better knowing that when I go contact and no one wants to learn, I can have peace in my heart knowing that I am just laying the foundation for missionaries in later years to come!! Then on Friday evening we went to go teach a recent convert of ours, and her neighbor joined in on the lesson! After the lesson we asked her if she would like to learn with us as well and she accepted and so we went over the next day and taught her the first lesson, and to add to that she came to church as well!! Super awesome!:) Then Sunday evening was an absolute blast!!! We had a Christmas devotional that was held at the South Stake Center and all of the wards and branches in Phnom Penh were invited so it was an absolute blast for me because I was able to see all of my old friends from all of my different areas!! It was seriously sooooo awesome! I had on a perma-smile for the entire 2 hours just catching up with all of my long lost friends!! It made me miss all of my old areas so much! The one thing that's kinda hard about missions is it is just 2 years of having to say hard goodbyes! But then every once in a while you get to have those amazing reunions and it makes everything worth it! Anyway, that was super awesome and I had a blast!

For this week, that's pretty much all I’ve got for you all! I am sorry I don't have a ponderize scripture this week yet! I have been so busy trying to get to know my new area, and there’s been the craziness of the holiday season as well, but I will try to get one to you all next week! I know this church is true! I love this gospel with all of my heart! It's brought me to people that I know I must have known before this life and has helped me create friendships with people half way across the world that will last a lifetime! What other kind of gospel can give you that kind of happiness!? I know that it's true and I am so blessed to be able to share this great message with the people of Cambodia, especially during this special time of the year! I hope you will all take a minute to prayerfully thing about who you might share the gospel with this Christmas season! It could be a loved one or a friend or a neighbor or a stranger! What's important is that we open our mouths and share this wonderful gift that we have been given! Without it, I don't know where I would be in my life right now, and I am sure some of you think the same thing! So now let's go and help others feel the same way we do!! I love you all and hope you have an amazing week and a very festive Christmas season!! Much love and prayers headed your way!!:)

Elder Steadman:)

Monday, December 7, 2015

"Short letter... but the church is still true!"

Well, I am in a new area folks!!! I guess first of all I will just tell you a little bit about saying goodbyes in my last area! Because I was coming back down to the city (Phnom Penh) to be a Zone Leader, I had to leave my old area and head for the city on Tuesday when usually you don’t have to leave till Thursday! It was kind of hard because we had to pack our p-day with me just saying goodbye to everyone as fast as I could, but luckily I was able to see pretty much all of the members that I wanted to see before I headed out! I’m not gonna lie, it kind of scares me at just how "ok" I am with saying goodbye to members now! In my first area I remember it was the hardest thing ever, and now I feel like I am starting to become numb to the sadness of saying goodbye to members! I don’t think that that is a good thing!!! Anyway, it was sad, but I’m ok:) Then I went down to the city and we had a meeting for all of the Zone Leaders! They told us that we were going to have to have Zone Training the very next Saturday (so in like 4 days) and I was pretty nervous especially because I don’t know anything about my Zone and I was going to have to teach all by myself! But when Saturday came around it actually went really well! The time just flew by and everything kind of just fell right into place! :) So that was super cool! Then the rest of this week has just been busy with me meeting new people and I don’t really know anything about them so I don’t have anything exciting to tell you all yet, but I am sure in the next couple of weeks I will have a lot more exciting updates for you all! :) I am so sorry, but I have not had time to be able to come up with a “ponderize” scripture this week. I promise next week I will have one for you all! Overall, I really love my area and I love my new comp! He is seriously just like me and we get along soooo well!! I would love it so much if I could finish out my mission with him as my comp! Anyway, I am sorry this week my letter is kind of short, but the church is still true! :) I love you all so much and I hope you all keep enjoying this Christmas Season and are remembering the true reason we celebrate this special time of year! :)

Much love headed your way!
Elder Steadman:)

p.s. I made up for a lack of writing by sending lots of pictures this week:):)

From Mindy: Here are a few highlights from our emails back and forth to each other this week:
  • The new area is called Chbar Ampov… not Chambeau :) It is a district in central Phnom Pehn. It’s “city living” according to Austin. 
  • Comments about his new comp: “He loves to lift! He is ripped! He is a total stud! Loves to do missionary work! Super good at the language and wants help to be even better so I am doing my best with that! It’s just over all really good!” He is apparently from Mesa, Arizona. I asked Austin how he is already so good with the crazy language when he’s only been there a few months and he said, “Because he is super smart!!!” and also because he is working really hard every day to try to master it. 
  • I asked if he wants to have us invite some of his high school buddies over to Skype on Christmas now that they are all home from their missions. He said, “Invite everyone! tys, cars, wit (if shes home), landon, frost, hayden (have tys text him), zac and his wife…seriously just tell them to bring everyone over! And make them treats and have a party so I can watch!” (Noted… buddies, you are all invited to Skype at our house on Christmas night :) 
  • Elder Quirante stayed in Kampong Thom to train a new elder… a Cambodian elder… and guess what?! He’s a kid that Austin baptized a little over one year ago in Siem Reap!!! Austin said, “Pretty cool how things came full circle for me on my mission! :)”

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Time for one last change! :)

Hello Family! :) So as you all already know, this week was transfer calls! I am leaving my area. I am kinda sad about it, but I am also excited for the adventures that lie ahead for me in my new area! So this week is kind of crazy because I have to leave to Phnom Penh on Tuesday because I have to go to a meeting! I am the Zone Leader for the entire East Zone! That's about 20ish missionaries! Usually there are two zone leaders per zone, but when President called me he told me that I would be Zone Leading all by myself!! Haha kinda crazy!! My new companion is Elder Riches or Rich?... I already forgot haha and from what I have heard from other Elders, he is super awesome! He is just coming out of being trained, but they said he is a super smart kid and is really good with the language already! Also, he is very muscular apparently and loves to work out and rumor has it he has already made a ton of weights at the house he is at so that's pretty awesome and lucky for me! :) The area is called Chambeau...not really sure how to spell it in English yet haha, but it’s a very small branch apparently! Only like 20 or so people come to church every week so it sounds like it will be like my area before this one! But my favorite family in Cambodia was in that small branch in Brae Choe so you never know what this area could have in store for me! :) Anyway, this is going to be a really short email today :( I’m really sorry! I have to spend my p-day going to everybody’s houses to say goodbye to them! I really want to say goodbye to some of the members that I love here and I have to do that before I head out on Tuesday morning! I love you all so much though!! I will be sure to have lots of updates for you all on next week’s email home!

For this week, I will give you a super fast update! Thanksgiving was amazing! We went to my old area (Kampong Cham) and the food was delicious! I had turkey for the first time in a year and 9 months! :) The Zone Leaders came up with us on our way home and one of them proselyted with us on Friday and that was a blast! He used to serve in this area so he got to say hi to a lot of people that he already knew! Sunday was super good! We had 106 people at church, which was a new high for us! That was pretty cool because it was my last week in this area as well! I am sad to be leaving this area because I love the members so much, but I also know that the Lord has amazing things planned out for me in my next area! Plus, we are going to be Skyping each other in like 25 days!! What!?!? How does time go this fast!? I will probably be inviting my buddies over again if that's cool with you all!? Oh and just so you know, as far as my area geographically, it’s just outside of Phnom Penh like 30 minutes so I will be able to have a p-day in Phnom Penh and get me teeth whitened when it gets closer to that time! :) Quirante is going to be training in our area and Lauritzen will be headed to Phnom Penh so I will still see them every once and a while! It’s weird to think that I am headed to my very last area of my mission!? How crazy is that? I never thought I would actually have a death area, but I guess it really does happen at some point! :) Anyway, I love you all so very much and I feel so lucky that I am a part of the best family in the entire world! :) I hope you all have an amazing week! :) I love you all SOOO MUCH!!! :) Less than 3 months baby:) Don't miss me too much… I’ll be home before you know it! :)

Much love,
Austie:)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Love and thanks from the Kingdom

Hello everybody! Can you believe that we are already to Thanksgiving week!? That's so crazy to me! I am super excited for Thanksgiving this year though because we are going to Kampong Cham and we have an assigned senior couple that is in charge of making all of the elders and sisters in that area a Thanksgiving feast!! How cool is that!? Our senior couple is super cool too! They are the couple who work in the mission office and they said that they are super excited to be able to come and spoil us! So I am super pumped for that and I will try to take lots of pictures and eat my weight in food as well!! :) 

Ha this week was super good though! It was not too crazy of a week! Pretty much just normal missionary work, but I'll give you the rundown anyways!:) On Monday we went out to a place called Phnom Sontuk! It's a mountain (more of a small hill really) that's famous in our area and the members wanted us to go out there with them because one of our members was leaving to start her mission later that week! So we went out with them and it was pretty fun! We took some good pics and a couple videos I will make sure to send to you! Then on Tuesday we went out to our far away area, but when we got there we found out that one of the members out there was at work and had passed out while she was working and was in the hospital! So we said some quick hellos to everybody in that area and then booked it all the way back to the city to go to the hospital to see her! When we got there she was doing a little bit better already! They had put in an IV and that was helping gain some of her energy back! Anyway, we just stayed and chatted with her for a little bit and then we headed out and told her to keep us updated if she needed anything! We learned a couple days later that she was released from the hospital and was back at her home doing much better! Apparently the place that she worked at was hardly feeding her any food (she said she got a piece of meat the size of the top of her thumb and a plate of rice) and they were making her work insane hours as well, so she decided to quit the job and just find something else once she starts feeling better! One more thing that was pretty funny that happened this week was Quirante and I were at this member’s house and the member was telling us how she has this coconut tree, but she can't reach any of the coconuts! So Quirante volunteered to climb up this tree and get some coconuts! Well let me just tell you right now, climbing one of those things is not as easy as the little Cambodians make it look!! Haha especially when you are as big as Elder Quirante! That's like 210 pounds of pure muscle you’re trying to lift up that tree! So he started climbing up and I think once he got like halfway up he realized how hard of a task this really was, but he was still determined! Well, after 4 or 5 minutes of struggling and tearing the poor sole of his right foot to shreds, he finally came down!! The funnies part was when he showed the member the gash on his foot, she ran and got him medicine (straight alcohol) and poured it all over his foot! Hahaha I haven't laughed like that in a long time! I think the member thought I was a terrible person for laughing at his pain, but I just could not help myself! Haha so later that night when we got home, he was super sore so he proposed we make an ice bath and we take turns sitting in it! Well I have never been in an ice bath before and I was kinda scared, but he told me that I would sleep like a baby after if I decided to do it and well.... I am a sucker for sleeping like a baby! Haha so we went to this shack that sells ice and bought 180 pounds of ice!! Hahaha it only cost a little over 3 bucks! Haha gotta love Cambodia!!:) Anyway, we filled our tub with ice and if you did not know this already, ice baths suck! Haha like seriously that was maybe the most painful thing ever!! We made a video while I was in it and well... I think the video sums up pretty well how I feel about ice baths! Haha let's just say there was a lot of screaming involved!!:) Haha so that was a funny experience that I'll probably never do again, but it will be fun to look back and laugh on that's for sure! :) Then this Sunday we had a lot of people show up to church, which was super awesome!:) After church we invited all of the Priesthood men to meet at the church and break up into groups and go and visit less active families! We had a good amount of people show up and even had some young women ask to go as well so it was super awesome!:) We got to visit a total of like 20 different houses so it was super effective!:)

For this week that's pretty much all I’ve got for ya, but before I go I just want to share my “ponderize” scripture with you all really quickly! It's in Doctrine and Covenants section 58 verse 4 and it reads, “For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand." I know that this scripture is so true! God never promised us that this life would be easy! We are supposed to face hardships and we are supposed to have trials come up in our lives, but just like this scripture says, it is after those tribulations that our Heavenly Father will pour out His blessing upon us! I know that this scripture is true because I have seen it in my life! Before my mission I did not have a whole lot of direction in what I wanted to do with my life and what I thought I wanted in life was not working for me at all. I felt like God had somewhat forgotten about me, but then I realized that God had a plan for me and I tried to push through those difficult times. I can now look back and see the reasons I had to go through those trials and also see the tremendous amount of blessings that my Heavenly Father has given to me for enduring through them! I know there are many more to come, but I can look forward with hope and faith knowing that Heavenly Father will fulfill His promise as stated in the scripture above! I invite all of you who are feeling overwhelmed with the trials that life brings you to just take a second and not worry about all of the things that overwhelm you, but instead ponder all of the things that you have already conquered. Ponder the blessings that you have received from your Heavenly Father, big and small! Ponder the length you have already traveled! I echo the words of the prophets when I say that I promise you all are doing a whole lot better than you think! Don't be so hard on yourself! God is proud of you and He sees every single one of your efforts and He is proud of all of the battles that you win! And He is there to pick you back up and brush you off on the battles that you have lost! There are so many people in your corner, so don't give up! Keep pushing! The time is not yet, but it's soon at hand, and I promise once that day comes we will be so happy that we kept on pushing and kept on trying all the way to the end! I love you all so much and hope that you have a great week and a very happy Thanksgiving! Much love and thanks headed your way from the Kingdom!

Elder Steadman:)





Homemade gym equipment... very creative :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

"It's not a sacrifice, it's a reward..."

Hello everyone!:) This week was another great week here in the Kingdom of Cambodia!! I guess I will get right down to it and just walk you through what we did throughout this week!:) So this last Monday was a pretty chill p-day! We went to the market and got all of our food for this week! I bought a kilo of pork and threw all of it in the crockpot and then had pork sandwiches for the rest of this week! It was sooo good!:) That just might have to become a tradition!:) Haha then after we went to the market we just came home and chilled because that same night I pinched a nerve super bad in my neck so I just laid down and used Elder Quirante's hot pad, which actually helped a ton and got me feeling good enough to go out and do regular missionary work on Tuesday! We went out to our far away area that day and we were able to meet all of our investigators and members out there which was super awesome! That day we also had a member tell us that they knew of another person who wanted to learn, but she lived even further away! Haha we decided we would go see her on Friday and teach her a little bit about prayer and our church!

On Wednesday we went out to look for a whole bunch of less active members, but we didn’t know exactly where they lived! It’s kind of hard because when we are trying to find these people, the only information that we have is a piece of paper with a map (drawn by a former missionary), and sometimes the village that they live in as well! And the worst part is, I am terrible at looking at maps! Well anyway, funny story coming up! Haha so we were trying to find this one house and on the map it showed (or made it seem like) the house was pretty far out, so we hopped on our bikes and started heading in the direction that the map was leading us. The one big landmark that the map had on it was a place they apparently called the Old Stadium! Well, we had never heard of it so we figured we would just ride down this road until we came across this Old Stadium! Haha because on the map it showed it right up against the main road! So we started on our way and we were biking down this road for what seemed like forever! It was fun though because it was a place we had never been before so it was nice to see some new scenery!!:) Well, once we had been riding our bikes for 45 minutes or so, we kind of forgot what we were looking for and were just having a good conversation with each other on our bikes when all of a sudden we see this stadium! Haha we both started to laugh because I think we both thought we would never actually find this Old Stadium place! Well, old it was! We went in and it was pretty cool! Not a single person was in the stadium though! Just Quirante and I! We took a couple random pictures and ran around on the field for a second… like any mature missionary would do:) Haha then we headed out to go look for the houses! We took a right (just like the map told us to), but when we took this right it was not looking anything like what the map was showing it should look like! Well, we weren't too worried, considering the map hadn’t really told us how far away the old stadium was either, and so we just kept on going down this road all the way until it basically went off into a dead end! But at this dead end there was this house, so we figured we could stop at this house and ask them if they knew where the person that we were looking for lived! We saw a man chilling on a hammock outside the house so we walked up to him and I said hello and right after I said hello, one of the craziest things happened! All of a sudden I just see people flooding out of this house! Like seriously, people are literally just coming out of this little house like clowns come out of those small cars! It was insane! Haha I was just laughing as it went from me and this man, to me and this man and 20 of his apparent relatives all interested in what the white guy is doing in their front yard! Haha they were all talking at the same time and then they found out we spoke Khmer and they all started freaking out at the same time :) Haha once things calmed down I took out the piece of paper and asked all 20 of them if they had seen the person in the photograph before. Well, all 290 of them didn't know who he was, so we were just talking with them and then they asked us where we had just barely come from and we told them that we had just been over checking out the Old Stadium. Right when I said that, the guy (and like 7 other people at the same time) said, "That's not the Old Stadium! That's the New Stadium! The Old Stadium is way the opposite direction from here!" Quirante and I just started dying laughing! We could not believe it! Not only did we not find the old stadium, but we managed to find their new stadium instead! Hahaha and believe me, if that's their new stadium, I am terrified to see what their old stadium looks like! Haha we thanked all of them for helping us and then got back on our bikes and made the long journey back home! Haha needless to say, the Elder that drew the map definitely did not find a job in architecture and layout when he got home from his mission! Haha we chalked the day up as a good story to tell and also a new fun place to go to on p-day and throw the football around!:)

On Thursday we mostly just stayed pretty close to the house and taught all of the people close to our house and we actually found a new investigator, so that was pretty cool! He is a brother of a member who is in Phnom Penh learning! He can only meet with us on Saturdays and Sundays, but he seems like a really nice kid!:) Then on Friday we went back out to our far away area and we went even further to go and meet our potential new investigator! It was like another 15-minute bike ride, but the view was soooo beautiful! The path that we rode on to get to the village was right up against a ledge and then there was a beautiful river that snaked along and we just followed the river all the way up to the village! It was so pretty!:) When we got to the village, I think that it was the first time that some of the people in the village had ever seen white people because I'm not lying or exaggerating in any way when I say that there were screams, gasps, and multiple jaws drop when we came riding through on our bikes!! Haha they couldn't even say hello because they were so shocked that they were actually seeing a white person! Ha well we got to the person’s house and she is super awesome! She is like 18 years old and has a strong desire to learn about God! Her mother also sat in on the lesson and her mother’s sisters (2 of them) also sat in on the lesson! Then right as we were ending the lesson another lady came in who turned out to be another sister of the mom, and as soon as she walked in she locked her eyes on me and I'm serious when I say I don't think she ever stopped looking at me! Haha she asked me how old I was and I told her I was 21 (she was 37) and then she proceeded to tell me that she was not yet married and wanted a husband that believed in Jesus! Haha as I got up to leave I told her I knew of the perfect place to find that guy and gave her directions to our church and the time we worshiped! I guess she was not really interested in other members of our church as much as she was interested in me haha, so her next question was a little more straightforward because apparently I didn't get the hidden message of her last question! She asked me if I would be her boyfriend haha, so I told her that I am a missionary and that all I do is teach about Jesus Christ and I'm not really in the market of looking for a wife right now! She told me that was no problem and that she would wait till I ended my mission and then she would marry me! Well I had to tell a small lie… I told her that I actually already have a girlfriend! She asked where she was and I told her she was in America and her face lit up and she said, "So you don't have a girlfriend in Cambodia yet!?" Haha I laughed and told her that's not how it works and that I was not going to be able to marry her! She was bummed at first, but I think she got over it! Except for when we were leaving she yelled out she would never forget me...yikes!! Haha it was pretty funny though:)

On Saturday we stayed pretty close to the house and went and visited some of our less active members and we also went and had a lesson with a person that I contacted the night before! As we were riding home from that far away area, we realized we had not had enough contacts that day so we tried to find a few more people to talk to and so we were passing this small market and I saw this lady just kind of chilling so I stopped my bike and started talking to her. At first she was not interested at all, but then I started talking about eternal families and just bearing my testimony about how families can be together forever and then I asked her if we could come back another day to share more with her and she immediately accepted! So that next day we went to see her and we taught her about prayer and she was super interested and invited us back for another lesson next week so that's pretty cool!!:) Then Sunday was just a regular good Sunday! We went to church and we had 3 investigators show up, which was pretty good! We were hoping for a little bit more, but there's always next week:) But yeah, for this week that's pretty much all that happened!

Oh, before I go I will share my “ponderize” scripture with you all! It's in Ephesians 5 verse 8 and it reads, "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light." I really love this verse! Some of you may not know, but I kind of used to be a punk! Haha at one point in my life I was in darkness and Satan had me convinced that there was no way out. But there was a way out! Through the help of my parents and friends I found the light again! The light that can only be found through our Savior’s atonement. I am so grateful to be a 'child of light' and walk in His path! I love this gospel so much and I love the hope and happiness that it brings to me every day of my life! I don't know what I would do without the knowledge of this gospel! To those of you who are thinking about going on missions or for those of you who have children that are deciding whether or not to go on a mission, I am begging you from the depths of my soul to go!!! You WILL change lives and you will help create eternal families! You will see the effect that this gospel has on families right in front of your very own eyes and because of your service you will have an everlasting effect on generations to come! Serving a mission is far and away the very best decision that I have ever made in my life! I would not change that decision for all the money and riches of this world! It would NEVER be able to buy the happiness that I have felt sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of Cambodia! Please go! If your trying to decide, let me decide for you… Go! The Lord will bless you and your family while you are away! It's not a sacrifice, it's a reward that you will never be able to repay! I am forever indebted to Him for giving me the chance to come here and learn from these people and to share this wonderful message! I love my mission and I love being a missionary! I encourage all youth that are preparing to serve missions to make the decision right now to serve! Don't put that decision off till later on in life because it will just complicate things and Satan will try to make it seem like it's not an important thing to do in your life. Well, he is wrong! It's the most important thing that you can do at this point in your life! It's a commandment given to us from God! It's not something that we can simply say yes or no to (for young men at least). We need to say yes and we need to start preparing now! Learn from my mistakes! I was as old as some of you are now just a couple years ago, but I did not make it a priority to serve a mission! Looking back, I know I could have made my life 100 times less complicated had I stayed on the path and worthily prepared myself to serve a mission! Luckily I made it back, but I walked a fine line that I would hate to see any other young man of this church walk! Just choose the right! It makes you so much happier in the long run and I promise you if you do, you will be an amazing missionary! You can always spot out the missionaries that have always just been pure and good! They have a certain light about them and when they speak, they speak with power and they know that what they are saying is true because they have lived it their whole lives!! I love you all so much and I hope that you can all find ways to prepare yourselves to become missionaries! Old and young! We need member missionaries just as badly as we need full time missionaries! I love this work and I know that it is of God! I know that this is His Church once again established on the earth! I hope that you all have a great week!

Much love headed you way from the Kingdom!
Elder Steadman:)

P.S. from Mindy: Austin won't brag... but I will! He told Joel and I that as of this week, he has officially read the entire Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price ALL IN KHMER!!!!! He's currently working on the New Testament in Khmer and hopes to have completed that before the end of his mission!






Monday, November 9, 2015

I LOVE MY MISSION! I LOVE CAMBODIA!

Hello everybody!!:) This week just flew by!! Man, I feel like I have said that sentence a million times now! I can't even imagine how sick you all must be of all my super repetitive beginning sentences at the start of these emails! Haha so if anybody has any ideas on what I can say at the beginning of these emails that does not sound cliché I will be happy to take any advice!! It's been over a year and a half and I'm just running out of interesting ways to start out my letters! I'm sorry people! Hang in there… only a couple more months and you will be free of these retched emails!:) Ok, now to my week! It was a super solid week as far as progression and finding new investigators!!:) So one cool thing that happened this week was we got to go down to Kampong Cham (my old area) for training! Before we went I printed out a whole bunch of pictures of members from my old area and I wrote a little note on the back of all of them so that I could give them to the Elders in that area and they could pass them out to all of the people there! It took me forever to write all the notes, but I finally got them all done and when we got up to Kampong Cham, guess what!? I forgot all of them!! Haha I was so bummed! Oh well… I guess I'll just have to wait till transfers to send them all out!! Anyway, we went for zone training and it was super good! Our zone leaders are pretty cool so it was a good time! Then we all went out to eat together and then after that we peaced out to go back to our area!! It was a long day because it's a 3 hour drive there and back and we did it all in one day so we did a lot of sitting that day, but it was good overall!!:)

Another cool thing that happened this week was that there was a young woman in our branch who received her mission call!! She called us on Tuesday to let us know that she would be opening it up at the church that evening! Of course we could not miss that for the world so we went to watch her open it up! It was super intense because she opened it and then just started laughing/crying for seriously like 5 minutes and would not tell us where she was going! Finally she just screamed out, “CAMBODIA PHNOM PENH!!!” Haha we all cheered super loud for her! She was so happy because I don't think she wanted to leave Cambodia at all! Haha I don't blame her either! This place is awesome:):) So we were super excited for her! The craziest part is that she starts her mission in 20 days!!!! Yeah, you heard me right! Twenty days! Ha so that means next transfer I am going to be seeing her in the mission home and she will be a missionary! She was freaking out! Ha she said she thought she was going to be able to party it up till the end of the year and then go, but I guess God had other plans in mind for her! She will be an amazing missionary and I am super excited I get to have a couple transfers with her!

Ok, the other exciting thing that happened this week was that we had another baptism! His name is Sok Chiet and he is so awesome! He such a humble kid and has such a strong testimony already! He is also just one of those genuinely nice people that you come across every once and a while! This week we were teaching him at his house and his house is in our furthest away area and by the time we got done teaching him it had gotten dark. As we were leaving his house he begged us to let him follow us behind our bikes with his moto and light the way for us all the way to our house! Our house is like a 45-minute bike ride away at least and he was completely serious about it too! We politely declined, but man he is just so nice! :) Anyway, the baptism went super good and he bore a great testimony afterwards as well! He also invited two of his buddies to the baptism and I contacted both of them before the baptism and they both told me that they would love to learn with us as well! How sweet is that!? He is getting baptized and inviting all of his buddies to learn too!! What a stud! I will keep you updated on how things work out with that! Then after church we had interviews with President on Sunday evening as well! He is so awesome! The interview was great! He is one of the coolest guys I have ever met! You can truly see that he really does care about you and genuinely wants the very best for you! I love him to death! And his wife is equally amazing!! They compliment each other perfectly and both just love to make each other laugh! I really do love them both so very much!

So as far as this week goes, I think that that's pretty much all that I have for you! But before I go I just want to share my “ponderize” scripture for this last week! It's in Alma chapter 26 verse 12 and it reads, "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." I love this scripture because I have seen the truthfulness of it throughout my mission! I have come to see that as I have humbled myself before God and given Him the credit for the amazing miracles that I have seen and had the opportunity to be a part of, he has always continued to bless me with those miracles! I know that the people that I have baptized or the people that I have been able to help on my mission are not from me just being good at communicating with people or anything like that, but instead I know that it is by the power of God that I have been able to see all of the miracles that I have seen out here on my mission! As the scripture states, I cannot boast of myself, but I can only boast in my God because through Him and through His power I am able to do all things that He would have me do! I love my Heavenly Father so much and am so thankful that He trusted a punk kid like me to come and teach His beloved people here in Cambodia! I am sure without a doubt that these people have a very special place in His heart, and for me to have the opportunity to be able to come and interact and live with these wonderful people for two years is a blessing I will never be able to come close to repaying my Heavenly Father for!! I LOVE MY MISSION! I LOVE CAMBODIA! And I love every single sweaty, hot, rainy, sticky, smelly, dirty, nasty, humid, funny, sad, hard and priceless experience that comes along with this mission! I would not trade these experiences for the world! I love you all and hope you have a great week! Talk to you all next week... which I'm sure in the beginning of my home letter, I will say something about how fast it's gone!;) Maybe pray this week will go slow for me so I'll have something different to write about!;) Or maybe I'll just wait two weeks to write you all and then it will actually feel like a long time since we have talked!:) Mom, I'm just kidding! Put the telephone down…there is no need to call my mission president! You will be hearing from me again next Monday!;) Love you all so much!!:)

Love,
Elder Steadman:)




Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ponder the path of thy feet

Hello everybody!:) Well, the weeks just keep flying by! I feel like they are meshing together so much that I don't remember what I have and have not told you! Ha so if I say anything I have already said I'm sorry!:) This week was a good week though! We had no interruptions this week! It was a full week of missionary work so that was super nice for us, and for our investigators as well! Speaking of investigators, we found a young man that is super interested! He is friends with one of the members here and the member invited him to church last week (what an awesome member right!?) and we talked with him and he agreed to meet with us! So we met with him twice this week and he is so awesome! His mom wants to learn as well, but she is working far away right now. She gets home next week I guess, so we should be able to meet with her then, so that's pretty awesome news for this week!:) Also, this week our President here in Kampong Thom asked us to come over to his house so we could help him with some service! So we went over there on Friday morning and helped get his land ready so he could plant some vegetables! It turned out to be super easy! He thought that it would take us an hour or two, but we finished in like 45 minutes! Maybe even less! Ha he was super surprised when he went into his backyard and then came back 30 minutes later to see that the project was all but done! Ha he was very appreciative and after that we headed back to our house to plan out our day! Later that night was also Elder Lauritzen’s one-year mark! It's so crazy that I have literally been with the guy since the very first day that he got in the country all the way up to his one-year mark!! Where does the time go!? Anyway, we went to the only American restaurant in our area and we stuffed ourselves with American food and it was sooooo good:) Oh, and they also had homemade ice cream at the place we went to and oh my goodness people, it was unbelievable!!!

Oh, and another cool thing that happened this week was that two of our investigators were baptized!!:):) Ming Khee and Bong Dara were both baptized this week and it was super awesome! I have some pictures that I will be sending you all of the baptism!!:) Bong Dara's dad got to baptize him and it was so amazing! It was his dad's first time ever doing it and when he went to actually baptize him, he sent his son (and most of himself) straight to the bottom of that font!! Haha there was like a huge tidal wave of water when they both immersed!! Haha needless to say Bong Dara definitely was completely washed of all his sins!!!:) haha So yeah, that's pretty much all that happened to us to this week! It was a good week but we just didn't have a whole ton of exciting things happen that I can tell you all about! Sorry about that:) But trust me when I say it was a very successful week!!:)

Last but not least, I just want to share my “ponderize” scripture with you all really fast! It's in Proverbs chapter 4 verses 25-27 and it reads, "Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil." I really like this scripture because it has always reminded me of my baptismal covenants! When I think of pondering the path of thy feet I think of always pondering before making me a decision! I have to remember that I don't just wear my name, I also wear Christ's name and as his representative I need to always make decisions that would make Him proud and that will keep me on the straight and narrow path! We, as followers of Christ, have all agreed to take upon His name and as we keep His commandments I know that He will be proud to have us be His representatives! I love my Savior and I love His gospel! I know that it's true with all of my heart! I love having the opportunity to be able to share it right now with the people of Cambodia! I love you all and hope that you have an amazing week and also hope you all had an amazing Halloween!!:) Oh, and my Dad's birthday is on this upcoming Saturday and so I need all of you to wish him a very happy birthday!:) I don't know if you guys know this or not, but he is the best dad in the whole entire world so send some love his way!:) I love you Dadio!!:) Anyway, I love you all!

Love,
Elder Steadman:)






Monday, October 26, 2015

"Living the dream" in the Kingdom of Cambodia!

Hello people!:) I hope that you all had a great week over in the good old USA!!:) This was a good week for Elder Quirante and I over here in Kampong Thom!!:) I don't have a ton of time to write to you all this week so it might be a little bit shorter of a letter, so I am sorry in advance! Or for those of you that hate my long letters, this should be a great read for you this week!:) So on Monday we just had our regular p-day, but then in the late afternoon we got to go and play some basketball, which was super fun! Elder Quirante and Elder Lauritzen were on an exchange with each other last week and they contacted some Cambodians that were playing basketball and they invited us to play with them on Monday and so of course we were soooooo down! :) We went and played with them and it was super fun, but they got tired super fast so we didn't play for loo long, but it was still a great time! :) Then on Tuesday we went out to our far away area, but everyone was gone because a couple of our members were in a small moto accident earlier in the week (don't worry, everyone is ok). The people that got in the moto accident live in the far away area and so there were not a whole lot of people out there at that time just because they were all at the hospital! So we visited the members that were actually home (which was only two) and we helped one of them tie up some leaves that she had grown to sell to the market people! Then we taught her how to read a little bit because she does not know how to read and she really wants to learn so that she can read the scriptures! So that was pretty much it for our Tuesday! Kind of boring, but it was a good day! :) Then on Wednesday we had English class and that was really good because we get to teach it with all four of us now! Before, Quirante and I taught on Saturdays and they taught on Wednesdays, but the President does not want us to teach on Saturdays anymore because he wants to keep the church really clean for the Sacrament on Sunday! So now we just teach on Wednesday! :) It was really fun to teach all together and I do enjoy making the class laugh, but also having an effective class as well! :)

Then on Thursday we scheduled to do service at a member’s house and so we went over there and we had to cut some grass with a hoe type of tool and it took forever!! Not to mention, there was not a cloud in sight and it was sooooooooo hot!! Haha we were all drenched in our sweat, but finally finished in the late afternoon and then headed home to do personal study and do weekly planning as well! Haha Then on Friday we spent a lot of the day looking for less active members, which is really hard in Cambodia because there are no such things as addresses here! Just names and the village that they live in! But most the time when you get into that village you can just ask someone if they know them and then they can help you and plus it’s a great opportunity to contact new people! :) ha On Friday night we bought some toys for the three members that were in the hospital (that were little kids) and we went and brought them to them! It was cool just watching their faces light up as we gave them these small little gifts! In the hospital rooms there were a whole bunch of other little kids that were all looking at their new toys and Quirante and I wanted so much to just buy all of them a toy too, but we just couldn't do that because we didn't have the money! But we walked across the street and bought a bunch of bags of candy and went back to the hospital and gave a piece of candy to all of the patients in the hospital! Old and young!:) It was so much fun and I felt the Spirit so strong as we were just walking around sharing our love with just a super small and simple act of kindness! It was cool to be able to sit and listen to some of their stories as well, and try to lift them up by giving them words of encouragement and telling them that things would soon get better for them! Hospitals are a sad place, especially in Cambodia, but that day I felt like we were able to life the spirits in that hospital just a little bit! :) Being a missionary is seriously so amazing! It’s the greatest blessing I have ever received to be able to be apart of this work!

Then on Saturday it was Quirante's birthday!!! :) Everyone wish him a happy birthday! montana.quirante@myldsmail.net! Attention all ladies! My companion is single and very handsome! Feel free to shoot him an email and let him know his buddy Elder Steadman told you to wish him a happy birthday! :) So he is 21 now! So we hit up the nearest bar and.....contacted! hahaha Just kidding! Really we just had a pretty regular day! But in the afternoon we got a call from the post office saying that Elder Quirante had something waiting for him there and when we went to go pick it up, a member from Kampong Cham (our old area) had sent him a birthday cake and some food! It was so awesome! He was so happy and the food was delicious!:) Then in the evening we went to the only American restaurant here in Kampong Thom and I treated Elder Quirante to dinner! :) It was expensive but soooooooo worth it because the food was seriously amazing! Tasting a cheese and bacon hamburger was something that was very much needed for me and I accomplished that desire when we went to that restaurant on Saturday! :) Sunday was super good! We had to push our baptisms back one week because some of the people that were involved with the moto accident were the ones getting baptized so we were not able to teach them very much this week, but we have 2 people scheduled to get baptized next week! :)

Ok, I'm sorry this letter is getting long and I promised you a short one, but I just want to share my “ponderize” scripture with you all really fast! It’s in Doctrine and Covenants, section 130, verses 20-21 and it reads, "There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated- and when we receive any blessing from God it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." I love this scripture because I have seen personally in my life the blessings that come from being obedient to God's commandments! Before my mission, I thought commandments were given to us because God did not want us to be too happy in this life. Well, I could not have been further away from the truth! God gives us commandments because He is dying to give us blessings! He wants to bless us more than anything, but if we have nothing to follow or no way to show Him that we love and care about Him, then how is he supposed to be able to bless us!? This is the reason why God has given us commandments! God gives us commandments so it gives Him an excuse to give us blessings! More blessings than we are worthy of or that we will ever be able to number! All He asks is that we follow what He has laid out for us! The laws and commandments that He gives us are not to impede us from being happy or enjoying life, but rather are there to help protect us from the temptations of the adversary! Satan is very real and he wants very badly for us to be unhappy just like him, and to do try to make us so he likes to dress up the commandments that God has given us to be annoying, unfashionable, out of date, or unhappy rules. But it’s not true! I have found in my life that the times I have felt the most happy about myself and towards other people have been the times that I was following the commandments that God has give me! I know that the happiness that we receive when obeying His commandments is true and everlasting happiness! Nothing that the temporary pleasures of this world will ever be able to measure up to! I love my Heavenly Father and am grateful that He loves me enough to help guide me and help me know what I need to do to be blessed and protected by His loving hand! I love this church and I know that it’s true with all of my heart! I love my mission! I can’t even start to explain to you all just how much I love my mission! I am starting to catch myself getting more emotional because I will find myself in a moment that I know will soon only be a memory. I don't get to do this my whole life and I know it will never be the same again, even if I come back to visit it can just never be the same as it is right now. I just don't want it to end! I don't want to not be able to see the sunset and sunrise in Cambodia every day! And everything that comes in between that sunset and sunrise! I don't know how I'm going to do without it! But I still have lots of time to enjoy, so I'm going to go ahead and stop playing the world’s smallest violin and go back to work! :) I love you all so much and hope that you have an amazing week over in America! For me...well, I’ll just keep on living the dream over here in the Kingdom of Cambodia! Don't be too jealous! :) Until next week!

Much love,
Elder Steadman:)

Things you don't see every day...


Happy Birthday Elder Q!!!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Drum roll please!!"...

Hello everybody!!:) Well, this week was a super fun week that also included transfer calls!!:) So I have got some news for you all, but you are going to have to wait till I talk about some other things first!:) Ok, so this Monday was super fun because we got to go to Siem Reap! It's one of my old areas and it's about 3 hours from the area that I am in right now. So we got to go there on our p-day to do some shoe shopping because my shoes are terrible and I needed to get some new ones! We went up there for the day and it was super fun! Elder Lauritzen got to come as well with Elder Beckstead because he also needed some new shoes!! So we had a small party up there shopping around for the day! The only bummer was that this whole week was a very big holiday here and so lots of the shops that we tried to go to were closed, but we were able to find the stuff that we went for!:)

Then on Tuesday it was the big holiday so all of the missionaries were told to not go out and proselyte and to stay in and spend the day cleaning our houses! Well, lucky for us, we just moved into a brand new house that was already spotless! Haha so we spent the morning deep cleaning our already clean house and cleaning all of our appliances, and then the rest of the day we just hung out with each other! It was fun to just be able to relax for a day, but at the same time it felt super weird that we were not supposed go out and proselyte! Haha anyway, on Wednesday we had to go to Phnom Penh to run some errands for Elder Quirante and I, so we went down there and when we went to the mission home, President bought us both lunch and it was soooooo good! It was like a Subway sandwich and I was in heaven!!!:) Then on Saturday I went on an exchange with Elder Beckstead and that was super fun! He has only been in the country for a little over a month now so he is still very new, but luckily I have been with new Elders for a fair amount on my mission so it was pretty easy to adapt the lessons, and it was fun being able to help him out for a day and to try to build up his confidence in himself about his language abilities!

Then on Saturday night I had something cool kind of happen! Elder Beckstead and I were outside of this gas station contacting these guys and I was just ending a conversation with them and starting to bike away when I heard this girl’s voice coming from behind me screaming, “Elder! Elder!!” I was kind of taken back! When I looked back, I saw two Americans running towards me! Haha it was definitely not something you see every day out here in Kampomg Thom! They came up to me and one of them explained to me that she was a member of the church as well, but that she had not gone to church now for a while. She said that it was a sign that we met each other! The reason why was because just a few days earlier she had been assaulted by someone and it was obviously very scarring emotionally and mentally for her, and so she was talking to her parents on the phone and her parents suggested that she try and find some missionaries so that they could give her a blessing! Well, I guess right before she saw us she was explaining what her parents had told her to the other girl that she was with, when all of a sudden she saw us! Kinda cool right!? Talk about God just lining things up perfectly for his children! If that doesn't show that He loves her, I don't know what else would! Especially because that gas station was super far out of my way and I randomly felt like going in there because I was hungry and wanted some Pringles, and once we got in the gas station I felt like I should contact some people in there which actually took like 15 minutes, and so if all of that would not have happened we would have not met up with each other! Heavenly Father really does work in mysterious ways!! Anyway, I invited her and her friend to come to church on Sunday! Her friend was American too, but she was half American half Thai, and she had actually never been to a Christian church before in her life! I told her I thought she would like the experience and they both happily accepted!!:) Well, when Sunday came around they actually came to church!!:) They came for the first hour and then after the first hour they said that they had to get heading out, but before they left the girl that is a member asked me if I would give her a blessing! Of course I happily accepted! I don't really remember anything that I said, but I just remember that right when I laid my hands on her head the Spirit just poured over me! It was so strong and I knew with all of my heart that Heavenly Father loved this girl very much and cared about her very much! It was a really cool experience!

After church we taught a few lessons and then headed home for the evening to finish up some studies, and then we had transfer calls!!!! Are you all ready!?!? Drum roll please!! Elder Quirante and I are still companions!!!!!!!:):):) Yep, you heard me right people! We are with each other for another 6 weeks baby!!!:) We could not believe it! We were literally bouncing off of all of the walls with excitement! For those of you that like math, that means that by the end of this transfer Elder Quirante and I will have been companions for a combined total of 6 months on our mission! That's 1/4 of our mission!!!!:) How lucky is that?! I seriously could not be more excited! I love my mission soooooo much! I love my area, I love the members, I love my comp, I love my house! I just can't believe I am so lucky right now!! Haha it still doesn't seem real!! :)

We have a few investigators on the board to get baptized these next 2 weeks, so please pray that all of them will be able to continue to learn and grow and progress! Their names are Ming Khee, SokGiet, Bong Dara, Bong Canada, and Bean. Oh yeah and one more thing! I have to share with you all my ponderize scripture for this week! This week my ponderize scripture is in the Bible in James 2:26 and it says, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." I really love this scripture because to me, this scripture talks about the importance of having commandments! If our Heavenly Father did not give us commandments, there would be no way for us to be able to show Him our faith! And like this scripture says, we mush show our faith by our works! We show by following what we know to be true! No matter the circumstances! I invite all of you to show your faith through your works! Show your faith through your everyday actions and your strong desire to follow the commandments that God has set out for us! I know that as we do these things, Heavenly Father will pour out His blessings upon us and will help us to stay on His straight and narrow path so that we can return to live with Him again someday! It's my hope and prayer that we can all help each other walk that straight and narrow path so that we can all live together again in the kingdom of our Father!:) I love you all so much and hope you have a great week!!

Love,
Elder Steadman:)


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mud & "ponderizing"

Hello everybody!! I don't know how or why the weeks insist on going as fast as they do! Haha but this week was super good! So as you know already we had Soklae's baptism last week and it was super awesome, but ever since his baptism he has wanted to help us go out and do missionary work around the clock!! Haha it's so awesome! He calls us every day in the morning and asks us where we are headed for the day, and then asks if he can come along for the ride! Of course we are more than happy to have him along with us and he really is quite the entertainment… he has both Elder Quirante and I busting a gut for the better part of the day! So on Thursday we were headed out to our area that is the furthest away and it's called Sojay. Anyway, Soklae called us and asked us if he could come with us and we said yes and then planned a time where we could meet him at the church so we could all ride together! So we met at the church and started to ride out there together. Well in order to get out to that area there is a stretch of dirt road that's super bumpy and bad that stretches out about a mile and a half (if I had to guess)! Anyway, we were driving down that dirt road and I guess it had recently rained in that area because it was super muddy! We kept on trying to ride our bikes, but eventually the mud got so thick that it wedged in between our tires and the guard thing and we could not pedal forward any more! At that point we still had another 300 yards (I’m guessing again...it looked way far people!) until we got to the end of this bad road. We could see that if we took our feet off of the bike, the mud was so sticky and thick that it would take our shoes right off of our feet! So we all three took off our shoes and our socks and rolled our pants up to our knees and then cleaned off our bikes in a little ditch near by, just enough so that the mud would not get all over us while we were carrying our bikes. We then threw the bikes over our shoulders and made the long 300-yard trek to the so-called finish line! Haha needless to say, by the time we got there I was drenched in sweat from head to toe...literally my muddy toes, haha and I was very very tired! Quirante and I got to the end at pretty much the same time and then turned around to see where Soklae was at. He was another 100 yards back moaning and holding his bike in the most awkward way you can possibly imagine! Quirante and I had a good laugh as we jogged over to help him, but he insisted on finishing the journey himself! He is such a stud! It's kinda cool because he just wants to be like us in every way! He does everything that he sees us do! The way we talk, the way we walk, even the way we ride our bikes, he is trying to copy us in every way! Haha it's pretty awesome! 

Anyway, so we all finally reached the end of that terrible road, but had another hour of biking to actually get to our destination! Haha so we found a small river and we hopped in up to our thighs and threw in our bikes and started cleaning them down and getting them up and running again! The biggest mistake of the day was when I asked Soklae if he could pass me my shoes because he was just up a little bit watching us, but I forgot that Cambodians are not the best passers! haha Long story short, he missed me by a mile and sent both of my shoes straight into the river but just close enough to me that it splashed all the mud that was on the bottom of my shoes all over my shirt! Haha Oh and the socks that I had nicely tucked into my shoes in the hopes that they would stay dry were nice and soaking wet as well! Haha You win some, you lose some, right!? Haha it was hard to be mad at him with how hard he was laughing at his own terrible throw! We all had a good laugh! Then after that we got back up onto the path and there was this guy who was driving this thing, this is really hard to explain, but it's basically like a moto with 4 wheels attached to it and an open area in the back of it where you can just put a whole bunch of crap! Well, we said hi to him and jokingly asked if we could hop on the back and then he stopped and was like, “Yeah sure, hop on!” So we did not ask any further questions! Haha we threw are bikes on and off we went!:) It was so much fun and he took us straight to where we needed to go! It was a huge blessing because we were all trying to hide it a little bit, but we were all super exhausted!! When we got to Sojay we offered to pay him, but he repeatedly refused and off he went! It's crazy how an act of service can literally make your entire day!! What an awesome guy!! Then we had super good lessons in that area and reminded everyone to come to Conference and listen to the prophet! Soklae was on his game as well, constantly bearing testimony and literally inviting everyone that he saw (which is a lot of people because the dude is super cross-eyed haha) to learn about Jesus Christ!! It's crazy how bold he is! He will be one monster missionary! He is a good example to me of being spiritually bold in your calling!! Then that evening we rode our bikes back home. but took a longer path because we did not feel like having that same experience all over again! Haha so yeah, Thursday was a super fun day! 

Oh and one more cool thing that Elder Quirante and I did this week was make a pull-up bar!! So we have an open shed thing on the side of our house and we asked our landlord if it would be ok if we tried to make a pull-up bar and he was totally down for it because he is so chill and super awesome! So we bought a super long pole and some chains and then we stretched it across two posts and then had it welded to both of the posts and since it was so long we used the chains for support in the middle! It's so sick! Three people can do pull-ups at the same time, so that's pretty sick! So that was a fun p-day project!! 

Then Saturday and Sunday were obviously amazing because it was Conference week! All of the talks were sooooamazing! I wish I had time to talk about all of the talks that I liked during this General Conference, but because I am short on time this week I will just share the one that hit me the hardest and that was by Devin G. Durrant. For those of you that don't remember his talk, his was the one where he invented the coolest new word that I have ever heard! Ponderize!! He inspired me to find a new scripture ever week and then ponderize it! What a cool challenge! He promised so many blessings that will come if we follow his counsel and I want to take him up on the challenge! So I need all of your help to keep me on my game! Don't let me forget!!! From here on out until I finish my mission, I am going to share with you all the scripture that I ponderized the previous week and bear my testimony about that scripture! Now because I did not know about this earlier in the week, I have only had one day to ponderize last week’s scripture, but it's better late than never right!?:) As I was listening to Conference,  there were 2 main topics that stuck out to me. The first was on keeping the commandments, especially the Sabbath day, and remembering our covenants that we have made with our Heavenly Father. And the second was the importance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the reality of it! This week my scripture relates to what I thought to be some of the bigger topics shared in this General Conference. It is found in Mosiah, chapter 3 verse 19, and it reads, "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." This scripture is rich with meaning and I know that even now I do not even close to comprehend its full meaning, but I just want to share my testimony that I know that what this scripture speaks is true! We all go through the great battle in this life of trying to put off the natural man. It's no easy task! And it's not meant to be either. But as this scripture states, if we yield unto the enticings of the Holy Spirit, meaning that if we strive to obey God's commandments so that we can have the Spirit to be with us, the Spirit will help guide and direct our lives and keep us away from the fiery darts of the adversary. Then we must become a saint through the atonement of Jesus Christ, meaning that we must try! As we learned last Conference, a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying! How do we try? We repent over and over and again! If we do this, we can have faith that no matter what, as long as we have sincere hearts, His grace and his mercy are sufficient for us. And then at the end of the scripture it tells us we must become as a little child. Like the comparison made in Conference, we are all little children of our Father in Heaven and we are all trying to walk on the path to get back to Him. Sometimes we fall, and we feel like we can't get back up onto our feet, but if we can lift our heads up, just a little bit, we will see our loving Father with his arms outstretched and a warm smile of encouragement telling us to get back up and keep on walking, keep on trying, so that one day we can live with Him again! It's my goal that I can try every day to become more submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, and willing to submit to all things that the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon me. I know that as I do these things, the Spirit of God will rest upon me and I will be led and guided by Him, just as a child is lead and guided by loving parents. Just like I have been led and guided in this mortal life by an amazing Father and Mother that love me! I am forever grateful for what they have done for me and who they have helped me become! I am nothing without them! Mom, Dad, I love you both to the deepest part of my soul and with all of the energy of my heart! Thank you for being the best parents any son could ever ask for!!:) I love my Savior and I am forever grateful for His atoning sacrifice that He made for me! I try to remember the song ‘I Stand All Amazed’ each week as I partake of the Sacrament. "I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine, to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine. That he should extend his great love into such as I, sufficient to own, to redeem and to justify. Oh it is wonderful that he should care for me enough to die for me. Oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me." I am forever indebted to my Savior for His undying love for me! I love this gospel and I know that this gospel is His. It's true and I know that it's true with all of my heart! If there are any of you who don't yet know, or are maybe struggling and unsure of whether or not this truly is the church of Jesus Christ, I invite you to ask! Don't ask your mom or your dad or your neighbor or your bishop, ask God! I know, and as a representative of Jesus Christ I promise, that if you search and study and you get on your knees and pour out your soul to your Heavenly Father and ask in faith if what you are studying is true, I promise you that you will receive an answer to that sincere prayer! I love you all! You’re all in my prayers! May your prayers be answered and may the love of God fill each of your hearts this week!

All my love,
Elder Steadman