Thursday, January 8, 2015

Nothin' but love baby

Hello everyone!! Well, I am back home!!:):) At least my home in Cambodia anyway!:) For those of you who don't know, when I started my mission my very first area was Stung Meanchey, and now as luck would have it I am back in this area again! Only this time I am serving in the first ward!! Saying goodbye to some of the people in Siem Reap was a little bit hard because I really loved some of the members over there and I will miss being able to teach them, and also I had some investigators that were getting baptized this week and next week. Unfortunately I will not be able to see them make that sacred covenant, but I know that more important than me being there to see it is the fact that they actually do make that covenant with their Heavenly Father so that they can be able to walk the path of God with all of their hearts and eventually be able to return and live with Him again someday! And one day we will all be able to see each other again and that will be a joyous day where we can all be happy with each other in the kingdom of our Father! :)

Anyway, the goodbyes were a little but sad but it was hard to be super sad because I was also extremely excited to be headed back to my favorite area in the mission!!:) The bus ride to Phnom Penh was kind of long and a little bit painful because I got super carsick on the way there! Thankfully we stopped about 3 hours in to our trip and I got some car sickness medicine and that did wonders! And since we had rented out an entire van to ourselves, I just laid across the aisle and fell asleep and by the time we got pretty close to Phnom Penh I felt tons and tons better!!:) The first day here was so awesome! I knew so many of the people from this ward like right off the bat just from seeing them around the church when I was here last! They all remembered me as well, which made me feel so good:) To be honest, there were people that remembered my name and I did not remember their names! So I made it a goal that I am going to know everyone's name in this ward! Literally everyone! I have already got all of the young men's names down and about half of the names of the older people in my ward and then I just have to memorize the young women as well! I seriously can't even tell you how much I love this area!! It kind of feels like a blast from the past coming back here! I feel like I am back at the very start of my mission again, except this time all of the people that I could not understand when I was last here I can now hear what they are saying to me and actually be able to reply!:) Ha the members have been super nice to me here! They say that I can speak super clear now and they can understand what I am saying to them, whereas before my sentences were a little bit hard to understand!:) haha

My companion is super awesome! He is just coming out of his training so he has only been in the country for just 2 transfers! He is super awesome and tries so hard to learn the language every single day! I wish I would have tried as hard as he does at the beginning of my mission to learn the language because by the time he gets to be my age in the mission, he is going to be a professional! He reminds me a lot of myself when I was in his position just 7 or so months ago when I had to lead out my area coming out of training just like he is having to do! He is doing a great job though! This last week my mouth has been hurting super bad! It's just always sore and I was trying to think to myself, “Why is my mouth so sore!?” And then it hit me! It's because I have been speaking so much English lately that my mouth is not used to it! Haha The last like 5 months of my life I have had to use English only every so often, but really I have hardly ever had to speak it unless I was in English class! Now I have an American companion and we are always speaking English in between our lessons and also at the house and this whole English speaking thing has got my mouth all tired and sore!:) Speaking English is so overrated!!:) haha

But seriously I love my mission so much right now! This ward is so organized that it's seriously insane! It's pretty much as close as you could get to an American ward here in Cambodia! They even have home teaching here, which is seriously unheard of!! When I heard they had that I like almost started crying for joy! Haha They also have a Preach My Gospel study class that we teach every Sunday and this week we had like 10 young men and young women sit in on the lesson! It was so cool!:) Also, another thing that is amazing about this place is that our house is so clean here!!! In my house before, there were six elders living all together and so it was literally never clean but here there are only four elders and literally everyone here knows how to clean their own dishes!! Seriously… somebody pinch me I think I might have died and gone to heaven!:) haha

Anyway, I don't really have a whole lot more to tell you all because this week has mainly just been a week of a lot of traveling and a lot of saying goodbyes and also a lot of saying hello agains :) But next week I am hoping to have a little bit more information to be able to relay to all of you! Know that I love each and every one of you! You are all in my prayers every day! My mission is truly teaching me to love everyone that I see! Even people who have done wrong to me or who have hurt my heart, I have learned and continue to learn that I need to love them too!! You know why!? Because I have hurt people’s feelings and been mean to people before in my life and when I am in that situation, all I want is forgiveness from them for the rude things that I have done to them. I can't recall a time where I have requested someone's forgiveness and they didn't give it to me! That is the true meaning of love right there! So if they can do it then I need to do it as well! There is no room in my heart for hate anymore! I have held in a lot of anger and hate in my heart up until these last couple weeks of my mission and then I just decided, you know what!? I don't have room for you anymore! So I kicked it to the curb where it belongs! I love everyone! Yes you! Even you! I love you!:) Hate is just a nasty thing that Satan will try to use to bring you down to his level! Don't fall into that trap! The guy’s a tool!!! I invite all of you this week to think of someone who may have offended you in the past or who maybe you just do not like that much for other reasons and I invite you all to pray to Heavenly Father and ask for His help to love that person rather than hate them! I testify in the name of Jesus Christ that eventually as you continue to pray each day, your hate or distasteful feelings towards that person will diminish and in return a great love for them will start to grow inside of you! This is the power that the Atonement has to bring to each one of us! The Atonement is not only used for us to ask forgiveness of our sins! It can also be used to help heal our hearts and find more love each and every day for our fellow men! I love this Gospel! I love the person that it is helping me become! I love my mission! I would not trade the experiences that I am having out here for any amount of money that this world has to offer! I love my Savior and I am so grateful for is eternal sacrifice that was given to us with love unimaginable to the human race!! I love my Father in Heaven and I am so grateful to Him for giving me the opportunity to come and serve in the best mission that this world has to offer! Try to not to be too jealous!:):) I love you all and hope you have a great week!

All my love,
Elder Steadman

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